IAB To Sync Ad Specs For Cross-Platform Campaigns

The Interactive Advertising Bureau on Thursday announced plans to align separate standards developed for digital video, mobile apps, and Web-based rich media ads.

The step comes as marketers increasingly seek to extend rich advertising across multiple platforms, like an ad that runs both on the Web and within a mobile app. Or to run and measure video that runs within mobile rich media creative.

“Our key challenge in the industry is to maintain interoperability, while looking at the next steps we can take to further a more cross-screen environment for digital advertising,” wrote Joe Laszlo, senior director of the IAB’s Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence, in a blog post.

To date, the IAB has developed three sets of technical specs:

*VPAID (Video Player-Ad Interface Definition), which specifies an API to manage interactive creative in video players.

*MRAID (Mobile Rich media Ad Interface Definition), creating an API for handling interactive creative for ads within mobile apps.

*SafeFrame- An open-source technology intended to deliver rich media ads to publishers’ Web pages more efficiently and securely.

While the standards have helped in each of their respective areas, the growing convergence of digital media requires cobbling together each set of specs to run campaigns across platforms. The biggest area of overlap involves running video in the context of a mobile in-app rich media ad, according to Laszlo.

That creates challenges in trying to sync the different types of ad specs, with different naming conventions and rules specific to their own platforms. To resolve these issues, the IAB said it has started laying the groundwork to align the specifications with one another and create a road map for a “converged future.”

The first phase will involve taking a closer look at capabilities and naming conventions. In the near term, the IAB plans to work with the industry to define best practices for effectively using VPAID and MRAID together. It’s also considering projects (depending on need and interest) that link VPAID and SafeFrame or SafeFrame and MRAID.

“The time is now to align these API specifications, taking the ad portability across publishers one step further: ad portability across devices and formats,” said Prabhakar Goyal, architect for Microsoft’s display advertising group, who co-led the VPAID 3.0 and SafeFrame initiatives for the IAB.

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