Tuesday, April 3, 2001

Publishers and Agencies Commit To New Ad Units

New York, NY - April 3, 2001 - Barely a month after issuing voluntary guidelines for new Interactive Marketing Units, the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) has found that an increasing number of sites and portals, including Terra Lycos, Yahoo!, Snowball, Salon.com, and Excite, are already offering the new units to advertisers.

As previously announced, NYTimes.com will start running IAB compliant units in mid-April, and according to the site's Vice President of Advertising Sales, Jason Krebs, "We are very pleased to be offering these new, larger and more interactive ad positions on our site. We've always strived to create more effective advertising vehicles that work for both our clients and our readers."

Acceptance from the agency community is also continuing. "We're recommending the new ad units to our clients and our media people are having no problems buying the larger sizes from publishers," noted Norm Lehoullier, Managing Director, Grey Interactive.

"The IAB's new 120x240 format is already integrated on Slate, and over the next three to four months MSN will continue to roll out additional formats throughout our network of award-winning sites," said Jed Savage, director of national sales for MSN at Microsoft Corp. "These new larger ad units enhance the branding experience and use the MSN enriched Ad code to deliver to marketers additional ad products that engage consumers in a uniquely interactive experience."

Adoption of new ad units is not a speedy process, as sites and portals have to reconfigure their Web properties, and advertisers have to launch new campaigns, all of which takes some time.

"The fact that sites and portals are using bigger ad units should not surprise anyone, this is a trend which the IAB recognized early on and worked to support by developing the voluntary guidelines that were issued last month," said IAB CEO Robin Webster. "To some, there is a basic misunderstanding as to the purpose of the guidelines, and the speed to adopt them. The IAB is encouraged to see the new IMUs already being offered and expects to see usage of them grow as publishers reconfigure their sites and advertisers launch new campaigns.

"The IAB Ad Unit Task Force, composed of many of the leading companies in the online advertising industry created these guidelines for the industry. They are voluntary, so usage is optional, and they are guidelines, so publishers may choose to alter them slightly to best fit their needs. To expect that we'd see massive movement to these guidelines in barely 2 days according to the recent report by AdRelevance is, to put it gently...unrealistic," Ms Webster added. "I think it is helpful, albeit unintentionally so, that AdRelevance has published what is in effect, a benchmark study, and I know that we in the industry who understand the process understand that it will take months for us to get a clear picture of the usage and effect of these units."

Recognizing that the face of online advertising is changing, new formats and the evolution of existing formats will continue, the IAB Ad Unit Task Force will meet every six months to survey the landscape and make new recommendations, or change existing recommendations.

About the IAB
Founded in 1996, the IAB is the industry's leading online advertising association. Its activities include evaluating and recommending standards and practices, fielding research to document the effectiveness of the online medium and educating the advertising industry about the use of online advertising. Membership includes companies that are actively engaged in the sale of Internet advertising.