On Wednesday, the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s (IAB) Tech Lab released a new ad standard for dynamic content. The standard comes as programmatic creative becomes more complicated -- coming in a jumble of different sizes and formats, not to mention hundreds of different versions of advertising creative in terms of the messaging.
The goal of the standard is to help advertisers make sense of all the different variations. And once the ads are served, they will dynamically adapt to the Web pages on which they live. This is important because publishers have different environments. The new dynamic content standard is open for public comment for the next month.
Diaz Nesamoney, CEO of Jivox and co-chair of the IAB Tech Lab Dynamic Content Ad Standard Working Group, shared with RTBlog his thoughts on why the standard is significant and will move programmatic media forward.
But why was the standard necessary? Apparently, the IAB convened a large group of industry executives a few years ago to discuss “the next big thing,” and the idea of making ads more fluid and dynamic emerged as a key theme. “There are so many different ad formats, and it took so much work to serve the right message to the right person at the right time. So we asked the question ‘how can this process be automated?’ The lack of standards in this area caused things to be done in a custom manner vs using tools and platforms,” Nesamoney told RTBlog via email.
He said two views emerged. Creatives held the belief that this process couldn’t be automated, while ad tech folks, not surprisingly, believed everything could be automated. Cary Tilds — Group M’s chief innovation officer, who co-chairs the Working Group — and Nesamoney maintained that the process could be automated and still remain creative — so a hybrid vision emerged. More than 60 companies came together to discuss the formulation of a standard. The process was managed by the IAB Tech Lab, which assigns roles, timelines, subgroups, and accountability.
Jivox’s Nesamoney said the main challenge the group faced were how to create a standard that is useful in its first iteration and doesn’t try to do too much. “The goal is balancing speed in delivering it to a market that needs it, while ensuring you’re covering the most important parts. Subsequent releases of the standard will then address other areas and allow the standard to evolve,” he said.
There was extensive internal review within the group so that all stakeholders were satisfied that the standard was on target. There were also proof of concept demos on the IAB and Spongecell Web sites.
So how important is industry feedback on standards to their final form? “It’s mostly calibration by the time a standard is out of committee. Comments tend to be fairly simple, minor errors and omissions, or they can also offer input for future revisions,” Nesamoney said. “Opening standards up to public review and comment also ensures a thoroughly transparent process which is very important.”
Once the standard is finalized and out in the market, what will it look like? “Personalization and dynamic creative have become top of mind for the whole ecosystem. Judging from interest level in market, I think adoption of the standard will be fairly rapid. Personalization is a big opportunity, but ‘the basics’ are actively being figured out. This standard provides this rapidly growing market with its first foundational layer to build upon,” Nesamoney explained.
Kelsey Meuse, product marketing manager, dynamic creative, Sizmek -- who wasn’t involved in the formulation of the standard but whose role will be significantly impacted by it -- told RTBlog via email: “The proposed IAB Dynamic Content Ad Standards will enable a better integration between DSPs [demand-side platforms] and dynamic content vendors, for instance, in how the DSP passes targeting information to dynamic content vendors or how dynamic content influences bid pricing and buy-side optimization.”
Meuse went on to say: “It may also help unite OpenRTB protocols and native advertising standards with dynamic content. However, challenges remain. While this standard will dictate how dynamic content is structured, it won’t standardize personalization tactics, reporting on dynamic content, or workflow for how to apply and implement creative targeting and dynamic content. These will still vary by vendor to a large degree.”