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IAB Issues Standards For Rich-Media Ads

When it comes to online advertising, size isn't the only thing that matters. Interactivity also plays a critical role in the success of online campaigns. With this in mind, the Interactive Advertising Bureau today unveils a new set of voluntary guidelines for agencies and publishers that are intended to clarify the use of rich media.

The rich-media guidelines are the first to be issued since the IAB announced size standards for interactive messaging units in February. According to Robin Webster, the IAB's president and CEO, the rich-media guidelines will encourage the adoption of interactivity within established ad units such as banner, skyscraper and pop-up ads.

In addition to setting parameters for file sizes of rich-media ads, the guidelines endorse HTML, Flash and Java technologies. For standard 468-by-60-pixel banner units, the guidelines stipulate that there can be an initial load of up to 15k, with an allowance for an additional 85k to be loaded after users move their cursors over or click on a given banner.

By allowing additional content to load in the background, the user isn't penalized with long load times, and the marketer's message is more compelling, said Shelby Bonnie, chairman and CEO of San Francisco-based CNet. Bonnie noted that rich media provides a wider array of tools, subsequently allowing marketers to do better creative presentations.

According to Kate Everett-Thorp, CEO at Lot21, the timelines for online ad testing also will be reduced. "These guidelines provide focus so that publishers can manage getting media up, while at the same time allow agencies enough leeway to provide creativity for their clients."

San Francisco-based Lot21 was among several i-shops the IAB rich-media task force consulted about the new standards during the past six months. The rich-media task force will reconvene in another 6-12 months to make any necessary adjustments or additions to the guidelines. The task force was co-chaired by Nate Elliott, rich media manager at DoubleClick, and Bettina Fischmann Stiewe, vp, CNet.


Sarah J. Heim, ADWEEK. August 6, 2001

Copyright © 2001 ASM Communications, Inc.. All rights reserved.