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IAB proposes a complete overhaul of the digital ad portfolio. So...now what?

Late in 2016, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) in the US proposed some major changes to their Standard Ad Unit portfolio. In fact, it’s more of a complete overhaul than some minor changes & they couldn’t have come sooner with the old Medium Rectangle and more recently the ‘Rising Star’ Rich media units looking ancient in this day and age of responsive web design & huge user backlash against intrusive ad formats.

The 3 major changes are:

  • Flexible Ad Sizes: Aspect based ad sizes that adjust dynamically according to whatever screen/device a user is on.
  • Adoption of LEAN Ad Principles: Light, Encrypted, Ad-Choice Supported & Non-Invasive Ads.
  • New Formats: Guidelines for new content experiences such as virtual reality and social messaging ads.

So, what has happened since the announcement of these proposed monumental changes to global digital ad formats?

Pretty little really.

Which is somewhat unusual given that the changes largely address one of the main causes of the massive rise in adblocking – poor user experiences with online ads. The IAB in Australia invited public comment on the proposed changes back in September 2016 & from there was going to make a call on which formats to introduce and over what time frame. The jury is still out though & it’s still very much business as usual – nothing to see here….

Surely any concerted effort to fix the user experience should be high on everyone’s priority list. Also, any measures to make the lives of everyone who touches digital creative easier – through these new standards of responsive creative sounds good to me.

To be fair, we’re talking about some pretty major changes to a system that’s pretty well engrained, across multiple stakeholders (media agencies, creatives & advertisers) despite how broken & badly in need of reform it is.

Rome wasn’t built in a day. A big ship turns slowly. All of that, but seriously, let’s get on with it & make it happen.

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