A potential boon for tablet advertising: IAB works on tech standards for in-app video ads

May 19, 2014

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) was actually born as the Internet Advertising Bureau and, as such, most of the standards it developed for ad delivery were geared for web advertising.

But the combination of three long term factors are pushing for a reset of these standards:

  1. the fast rise of mobility, which now brings almost half of the traffic to many web sites;
  2. the clear domination of app vs. web usage on mobile devices; and
  3. the hunger from both advertisers and publishers for video advertising, while non video display ad rates have collapsed.

The near future of digital advertising is about video ads within mobile and tablet apps and this is where the IAB wants to go, by harmonizing its current standards.

More specifically, the IAB announced a few days ago that it intends to harmonize three current sets of standards:

  • MRAID (Mobile Rich media Ad Interface Definition), which specifies an API to deal with interactive creative within a mobile in-app environment;
  • VPAID (Video Player-Ad Interface Definition), which specifies an API to deal with interactive creative in video players on the web; and
  • SafeFrame, a managed API-enabled iframe that opens a line of communication between a publisher’s page content and an ad contained in an iframe on that web page.

“Today the lines between Web, video, and mobile ad creative are becoming more and more blurred”, the IAB acknowledges in a brief white paper.

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“Based on what IAB hears from members, the area of overlap that is most prominent and most pressing currently involves the desire to deliver video in the context of a mobile in-app rich media ad.”

While harmonizing these different standards is no small work, it could potentially bring a big boost to tablet advertising.

As of now, the variety of standards is a significant hurdle for deploying large scale video ad campaigns across a large number of apps. With the majority of tablet consumption occurring in landscape orientation and with the benefit of high-speed wifi connection, tablets should benefit much more than smartphones from harmonized tech specifications for in-app video ads.

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