IAB Issues An Addendum To Tackle Mobile Video Advertising Specs

Trying to help Internet advertisers have a more uniform standard for ads that appear on various devices, the Interactive Advertising Bureau today released a “final version 1.0” addendum  to its Mobile Rich media Ad Interface Definition--or MRAID.

In technical jargon--and a lot of it--the addendum standardizes support for video within MRAID ads with a minimal need for changes to existing standards, while extending its capabilities with aspects of VPAID, the Video Player Ad interface Definition.

Last May, the IAB outlined the role and evolution of its major specifications, noting that the fast convergence of video commerce on devices, especially mobile, meant advertisers needed new ways to deal with all of them. 

The new video addendum “is an important step toward helping mobile video ads propagate throughout the mobile Internet. MRAID has become a true industry standard for mobile rich media, and now we have standardized a way to run video ads in mobile interstitial rich media placements,” wrote Joe Laszlo, senior director of the IAB Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence, in a blog today that also links to the new guidelines.

The guideline was prepared by the IAB’s MRAID Working Group, with contributions from ASE Publishing,  BrightRoll, Crisp Media, Innovid, Opera MediaWorks  and Rhythm, and more help from others.

Now, the IAB has to see if it flies.

“The next step is for vendors that offer MRAID-compliant containers—the mobile rich media community—to evaluate this new video specification and determine whether and when to build its capabilities into the next version of their products,” Laszlo writes. “I expect it will take a little time for addendum-compliant containers to become widespread, but given the importance of mobile video, I’m sure that we’ll see strong adoption.”

When Laszlo first wrote to members last year about trying to smooth out language between the standards, he predicted some difficulty. Today, he writes, working on the 13-page addendum “presented a number of interesting challenges, as a ‘container’  that runs MRAID ads (that is, the software within a mobile app) plays a somewhat different role than a video player that runs digital video ads.  

“Simply figuring out how to start playing an ad in this hybrid scenario—how the ad should signal that it needs both MRAID and VPAID support, and how the container should respond—took significant time and effort. But we’ve devised a good and practical solution, while keeping implementation as simple as possible for the vendor community.”
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