IAB: Agencies Have “Overwhelming Support” for New Ad Units

A survey conducted by the Internet Advertising Bureau and released Tuesday suggests that ad industry decision-makers are pleased with the new ad specifications recommended earlier this year.

Of course, the New York-based IAB proposed those new units itself. Nevertheless, the survey’s findings do seem to indicate that advertisers and agencies, at least, have some strong feelings about online ads’ value and usefulness.

The new ad types, approved in late February, are larger and generally more obtrusive than the banner ad. The seven new ad sizes include a 160 x 600 vertical banner, a 336 x 280 rectangle, and a 250 x 250 pop-up unit.

The IAB, in conjunction with the American Association of Advertising Agencies, conducted the study in early March during the AAAA’s 2001 Media Conference and Trade Show in New Orleans. Only 78 members participated in the survey; however, the AAAA said survey participants included high-level agency buyers and planners, as well as brand and marketing managers, publishers, and research companies.

“It was fortunate that we were able to conduct this survey with a high level group of ad industry executives within days of the announcement of the IAB’s new voluntary guidelines,” said IAB chief executive Robin Webster. “These are the people and companies who will benefit most from the adoption of these guidelines. Their enthusiasm and acceptance of these new models indicates to me a quick and widespread implementation by the industry.”

A large majority of those surveyed — 93 percent — viewed the new units as more effective than previous guidelines, which included the omnipresent banner ad. More than a quarter of the respondents said they already have either designed or placed ads in the new formats.

And, in good news for beleaguered Web publishers, 43 percent of the respondents said the new units warrant higher CPMs, and attached an average premium of 13 percent to the units.

In addition, respondents rated the Internet’s potential for direct marketing highly — awarding it a 4.3 out of 5, with 5 being “the most potential.” Study participants also considered it a strong vehicle for promotions (3.7) — and, interestingly, only a fair tool for branding (2.9).

Respondents said the greatest difficulties in adopting online advertising are banner size, and lack of measurement. Other major obstacles include low click-through rates and lack of good creative.

“This survey at the AAAA’s conference was the perfect barometer of both acceptance of the new guidelines by agencies and affirmation of their belief in the medium,” said IAB vice chairman Richy Glassberg, who is also CEO and chairman of ad rep firm Phase2Media.

“The Internet advertising medium has extraordinary potential. But we have to work together to ensure the ads are more compelling, allowing advertisers and agencies to take advantage of the breadth of options available to them,” Glassberg added. “IAB members stepped up to the plate and gave agencies something that will quickly foster more effective, creative online ad executions.”

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