IAB Issues New Guidelines for Over-Page Rich Media

NEW YORK – The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) issued new proposed guidelines for the use of over-the-page, between-page and in-stream ads Tuesday.

The latest rules are the second installment in the IAB’s update to its original rich media guidelines. In February, it updated its guidelines for in-page rich media units nearly three years after the original guidelines — which were supposed to be updated every six months — were issued.

A comment period for the new proposed voluntary rules will last two months, following which they will be revised and finalized.

Most of the rules are geared toward maintaining a user-controlled environment for these formats. They recommend, for instance, that all floating ads include a “close” button in the upper right corner, and that the “close” button for semi-transparent floating ads should not be further than an inch from the ads’ visible elements. Further, they suggest these transparent ads should be overlaid with a clear box that makes the button easier to see.

The guidelines also propose that between-page and in-stream ads should include a “skip” button and should last no longer than 30 seconds. For these units, the IAB urges advertisers and publishers identify the animation as an ad by including an “advertisement” or “brought to you by” label or a three-second vignette that precedes the spot.

All floating ads should be 40KB or less, according to the rules, while all transitional (between-page) ads should be under 30KB. Audio for all ads should be user-initiated, unless the publisher has set an expectation for automatic audio play.

The voluntary rules were developed by the IAB’s rich media task force and released at the association’s Leadership Forum today in conjunction with the results of its latest cross media study.

“Consumers will be pleased with new controls they gain over their online experience and buyers and agencies profit from creating against set specifications that have been tested and determined to be effective,” said Adam Gelles, the IAB’s director of industry initiatives.

The trade group’s rich media task force developed the guidelines after conducting polls and research on ad effectiveness, user acceptance and marketer attitudes.

The IAB is on something of a guidelines kick. The association last week issued similar proposed rules for pop-up units.

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