New IAB Guidelines Bring More Transparency To Video Advertising

Be honest.  How much do you really know about the video ads you buy?  The term “pre-roll” frequently gets thrown around as a shorthand quality measure, but by definition it only describes a video ad’s position relative to content.  Do you know if that pre-roll you’ve bought is being shown above the fold, or whether it was auto-initiated? 

Fortunately, the IAB recently ratified the first Quality Assurance Guidelines for video advertising.  These new guidelines provide publishers, networks and advertisers standard language to more precisely specify advertising inventory.  In general these guidelines define various characteristics of video ads:


  • Ad Type:  How the ad is displayed, particularly in relation to content.
  • Ad Position: is the ad above or below the “fold”?
  • Content Type: The context in which the ad is shown (e.g. video, music, gaming).
  • Duration: The maximum duration of the ad.
  • Auto-Play: Defines whether the user initiated the content/ad experience or whether it was started on its own.
  • Video Context: If available, the context of the video content being shown before, during or after the ad.
  • Embeddable Player: Will the ad be shown in players that can be embedded on other sites?
  • Device Type: The type of device on which the ad is consumed.

What does this mean for advertisers?

These clearer definitions of video ads give buyers more confidence, reducing friction in the marketplace.  These classifications allow advertisers to specify video ads in RFPs and insertion orders -- and to differentiate prices they are willing to pay.  For example, advertisers who buy from IAB-certified partners can specify that their pre-roll ad be user-initiated and displayed above the fold.  They can also stipulate different prices they are willing to pay for ads with varying characteristics.  For programmatic buyers, this creates a common and meaningful set of ad characteristics on which to base bids.

Several networks, exchanges and publishers, including BrightRoll, AdapTV and DBG, are already working on adopting these guidelines, and all QAG-certified companies will be required to support them by April 2012.  Advertisers should begin familiarizing themselves with the guidelines and referring to them in their RFPs and insertion orders.  Once adopted, these guidelines, along with ad format and ad serving standards, will provide advertisers access to high quality video inventory with transparency and control.  Kudos to the IAB and all of the companies who participated in this effort.

1 comment about "New IAB Guidelines Bring More Transparency To Video Advertising ".
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  1. The digital Hobo from, November 23, 2011 at 9:57 a.m.

    This is what passes for an "Insider" column these days?

    Yeah, we all got the IAB press release. Thanks.

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