IAB Pushes For DIY Ad Units, Modules

Industry insiders believe agencies, brands and publishers need to take steps to create and adopt drag-and-drop display ad units online -- or they risk losing dollars to offline and falling CPM prices.

The do-it-yourself ad units encourage publishers to "de-clutter" Web pages.

Peter Minnium, head of brand initiative at the Interactive Advertising Bureau, told MediaPost the approach works well on tablets and mobile phones. "We see it in interstitial full-page ads that sit between content on tablets and mobile phones," he said. "We hope this will encourage desktop publishers to de-clutter the page."

The ad units, based on the IAB's Rising Stars program, were created to revamp antiquated industry standards. Now Minnium wants tech companies to build "do-it-yourself ad-maker kits," so those who build brands can concentrate on the design. A few companies have begun to develop platforms, he said.

"The majority of ad units still follow old IAB standard, and only 7% are custom," Minnium said, calling the new ad units a piece of real estate with specific behavior. "I'm certain if more companies adopt this new practice, the ad units would solve ad blindness."



Plug-and-play ad units are akin to easy-to-scale, repeatable ad formats. The strategy follows what Microsoft did for Web Services, allowing companies like Oracle to build one function in a module that it could plug into numerous applications, thereby creating the same results for different applications.

The project aims to draw the consumer to the one ad on the page integrating search, audio, video or other social elements, but also support the ad industry's "scarcity" initiative to help raise CPMs and conversion rates.

7 comments about "IAB Pushes For DIY Ad Units, Modules".
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  1. peter minnium from iab, July 30, 2012 at 3:11 p.m.

    Thanks for focusing on two key concepts that will make digital advertising better for brands: de-cluttering web pages and providing "ad-platforms" with technology built-in that allow agencies to focus on creative ideas and not on creating technology to make ads work.

  2. Myles Younger from Canned Banners, July 30, 2012 at 4:31 p.m.

    Couldn't agree more. What we're talking about here is a standardized "handshake" between creative teams and digital ad formats.

    Right now, ad creation happens in complex Adobe desktop applications, and ad placement happens in a separate universe unto itself; each side has its own completely unique set of tools & idiosyncrasies, holding nothing in common except for the fully-baked ad files that are compiled out of Adobe apps and then chucked over to publishers.

    To me, "ad maker kits" implies some set of standards and technology that both the creative side AND the publisher side can use, understand, and control. However, I would worry that the term "ad-maker kits" by itself will, to most people, imply a solution that only helps THEIR current side of the business problem. One example would be Flash IDE plug-ins that some creative vendors offer. These are helpful to Flash designers, but they do nothing to standardize the handling of ad creative on the publisher side (i.e., the publisher doesn't know or care whether a whiz-bang Flash plugin was used...it may help the creative team, but it does nothing to make the publisher's life easier). Ditto enhancements made on the other side to ad servers or publisher tools. Again, they're mostly intended to streamline things for publishers, but they don't provide any common ground such that a creative team could also benefit or gain some insight into, or control over, the end-to-end process.

  3. Eric Conn from Leverege, July 30, 2012 at 5:25 p.m.

    It's nice to see that the IAB is headed in this direction. My company Gloto (www.gloto.com) makes a DIY ad builder product called Designer that leading brands and publishers are using to create various larger non-standard ad formats for the web and mobile. The performance of these custom ad units has been quite promising.

  4. Mark Douglas from SteelHouse, July 30, 2012 at 5:38 p.m.

    This is only a precursor of even more automation to come; as units become increasingly DIY, so will creative. Businesses will be able to create, test, and even retarget utilizing existing brand assets, without the extended ad development time and effort. It will be interesting to see how this plays out with creative agencies.

  5. John Ryan from myFootPath.com, July 31, 2012 at 11:09 a.m.

    These guys brought this to market a couple years ago...pretty slick stuff: advanseads.com

  6. Eric Wittlake from Babcock & Jenkins, July 31, 2012 at 12:30 p.m.

    My question: who are the marketers contributing to clutter today and will this really change the quality of their creative?

    Many DR focused marketers do not attempt to focus on design today and the major brand marketers have resources to develop a wide range of formats. Drag and drop for each publisher opportunity still requires a designers involvement, even if production is minimized.

    I'm all for lowering the cost, but banking on this to improve the online experience is a stretch, IMO.

  7. Myles Younger from Canned Banners, July 31, 2012 at 12:56 p.m.

    Eric Wittlake makes several good points, but there are ways that a streamlined creative process can yield better creative from the perspective of the viewer. Let's assume Brand X has $1,000 to spend on campaign creative, and creative currently costs $1,000 for the first iteration (due to the inefficient and dis-jointed way that ads are currently created). This means that Brand X can have exactly ONE piece of creative that must cover their entire audience, despite the fact that Brand X has many different audience segments, products, and messages, and that this mix is changing and evolving constantly. This means that Brand X's single piece of creative will have to satisfy the lowest common denominator of their target audience, which almost always means that the majority of viewers will find the creative to be irrelevant; the creative will be interpreted by most viewers as worthless, boring noise. Now imagine a scenario where the cost for the first iteration of creative is $500, and subsequent iterations are highly streamlined, and are only $50. This means that Brand X can now afford 11 pieces of creative, allowing the creative team more leeway to experiment with nuanced, relevant messaging that will more effectively get through to viewers. Thus, each piece of creative taken by itself is not fundamentally better, but individual viewers are no longer seeing (or, more likely, ignoring) "one size fits all" creative, they are seeing ads that have been more carefully crafted to appeal to each viewer's individual tastes, characteristics, wants, needs, and circumstances. Ergo, streamlined creative process = better creative.

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