IAB Updates In-Stream Video Ad Guidelines

Three years after releasing its original in-stream video ad guidelines, the Interactive Advertising Bureau has come out with the next iteration. The goal of the new proposed Digital Video Ad Format Guidelines for in-stream, overlay and video companion ads is to simplify specs, make creative submissions more efficient, and aid consumer understanding of video ad interaction.

The guidelines, intended for comment by the industry over the next month, deal with linear formats such as pre-, mid-, or post-roll ads, as well as non-linear units such as overlays or product placements. With the document, the trade group has rendered its 2005 guidelines obsolete, and plans to update the new standards as necessary.

“This really makes it possible to go to one place and understand how to implement and harness the power of digital video ads,” said Sherrill Mane, SVP industry services at the IAB.

When it comes to linear units, the IAB suggests ads should feature start/stop and audio volume player controls, and recommends others such as fast forward/rewind and pause. Ads should encompass less than 25 percent of the total length of the video experience. In other words, four minutes of content should include no more than one minute of advertising. The organization also suggests publishers enable frequency caps, in which case they should notify advertisers.

To help users understand interactive features of linear ads, these units should include “interaction cues” like graphics or animations.

Recognizing the more recent adoption of overlay ads in video content, the IAB devised a set of guidelines for what it calls non-linear video overlay ads. Such units should be clearly identified as advertisements in the video frame or near the overlay. Also, the units should include a close button in the upper right corner.

The IAB also makes size recommendations for companion ads, or display ads placed alongside video. Publishers should offer companion ads with the following pixel dimensions: 300×250, 300×100, 468×60, 728×90, and 300×60.

In addition, the document offers several technical specifications for ad creative dimensions, file sizes and platforms. The guidelines were developed by the IAB’s Digital Video Committee, which includes representatives of Hulu, AOL, PointRoll, and Valueclick. Companies including Broadcast Interactive Media, OMD, Revver, and others support the proposed guidelines.

“The development of these guidelines took into account the thoughts and the knowledge of representatives from across the entire ecosystem,” Mane said.

The IAB seeks comment on the proposed guidelines on its Web site for the following thirty days. Afterwards, the group will finalize them for release to the public.

Note: This story originally named Broadcast Interactive Media, OMD, and Revver as members of IAB’s Digital Video Committee. They are not, though they are among companies supporting the proposed guidelines.

Related reading