Thursday, December 12, 2002
IAB AD SIZES COMMITTEE RECOMMENDS NEW LARGER UNIT AND CREATES “UNIVERSAL AD PACKAGE” KEY IAB MEMBER PUBLISHERS AGREE TO OFFER FORMATS DESIGNED TO PUT ONLINE ADVERTISING ON PAR WITH TV AND PRINT FOR EASE OF USE EFFORT SUPPORTED BY AMERIC

New York, NY – December 12, 2002 - The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), the leading voice of the interactive advertising and marketing industry, via its Ad Sizes Committee which includes AOL, MSN, Yahoo! and CNET Networks Inc., among its members, announced today the recommendation of a new larger sized unit which when integrated with three existing IAB recommended ad sizes, will create a Universal Ad Package. Designed to be acceptable to advertisers and agencies, the package was created in response to advertiser demand for simpler, more cost effective units and a stronger creative palette. As it does with all new industry recommendations, the IAB will solicit industry feedback on the Universal Ad Package.

AOL, MSN, Yahoo!, CNET Networks Inc., The Excite Network, Internet Press Association, iVillage, Inc., CBS Marketwatch, New York Times Digital, Univision Online, The Wall Street Journal Online, and Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive, have already agreed to offer the new unit and Universal Ad Package which is intended to make online advertising as simple to plan and implement as TV or print, increasing the efficiency for online media buying. Once adopted, the Universal Ad Package will allow advertisers to reach the majority of each publisher’s audience with one set of creative ad formats. The American Association of Advertising Agencies (AAAA) is supporting this set of ad formats.

“The work of the IAB Ad Sizes Committee is evidence that interactive publishers are listening and responding to the needs of advertising agencies,” said Adam Gerber, Chairman of the AAAA Interactive Committee, “The Universal Ad Package will result in a stronger, more unified creative palette – and will make it simple to reach a majority of the Internet audience. With this great first step, we encourage the publishing community to quickly evolve these standards to also address rich media, streaming, and broadband specifications, as well improved placement and ad/edit guidelines.”

The formats, a subset of the existing IAB Ad Unit Guidelines, include: 160X600 IMU, 300X250 IMU, 180X150 IMU and the 728X90 IMU.

The 728x90, a newly created IAB ad size, provides an expansive horizontal lens through which consumers can view products and brands online. Both the 300X250 and 180X150 ad units feature similar proportions to TV, enabling easier creative development, while the 728X90 and the 160X600 have been designed to sit on the perimeter of the page, allowing advertisers to surround the content with their messaging.

The UAP also features guidelines for standard file weights, formats, animation length, and audio. The units’ recommendation is based on customer feedback, extensive usability studies and brand and traditional click performance tests.

In IAB ad effectiveness research conducted by Marketing Evolution’s Rex Briggs, it was found that “…the larger format sizes, which are naturally more visible and provide more creative freedom, did prove to be significantly more effective than smaller, standard banners across all campaigns.”

“The Universal Ad Package is a very clear signal from publishers that they understand what advertisers need and are moving to facilitate those needs creatively and efficiently,” said Greg Stuart, President & CEO of the IAB. “One of the reasons that IAB recommendations carry authority is that we always solicit input from the industry at-large when we issue recommendations, and we look for that feedback for the Universal Ad Package.”

To ensure industry participation, the IAB has instituted a feedback mechanism via the IAB web site at http://www.iab.net/standards/adsizes.asp. Industry feedback will be collected over the next two months before a final package is presented to agencies and marketers in February 2003. Compliance by all publishers is expected over the next twelve to eighteen months.

“This initiative which we are asking for comment on today is intended to answer advertisers’ requests for a limited, core set of compelling ad units to create and plan online campaigns that will be able to run across the majority of Web sites and users. It will also enable publishers, regardless of size or niche, a common palette with which to attract advertisers and agencies, providing the framework for integrated campaigns across the Internet,” said Jeff Bernstein, Director, MSN Ad Planning, and Chairman of the IAB Ad Sizes Committee. Mr. Bernstein will present preliminary recommendations at the iMedia Summit in Keystone, Colorado today.

About the IAB
Founded in 1996, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) is the leading interactive advertising association and represents companies responsible for selling over 75% of online advertising in the United States, including; AOL, CNET Networks, MSN, Overture Services, Walt Disney Internet Group, Yahoo, and over one hundred others. Its activities include evaluating and recommending standards and practices, fielding research to document the effectiveness of the interactive medium and educating the advertising industry about the use of interactive advertising. Membership includes companies that are actively engaged in, and support the sale of interactive advertising.

Contact:

Stu Ginsburg
FAVA PR
(917) 554-0724 - mobile
[email protected]