Tuesday, May 4, 2004
IAB Announces Rich Media Advertising Guidelines For Over-The-Page Units

Issues Final Call for Industry Feedback

New York, NY (May 4, 2004) – Today, at the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s (IAB) Leadership Forum, the IAB, in conjunction with its Rich Media Task Force, announced a “Call for Feedback” on proposed guidelines for Over-the-Page Rich Media units, which include Expandable Over-the-Page, Between-Pages and In-Stream units. This specification set was designed to enhance the user experience without constraining creative opportunities for marketers and will improve the efficiency and ease of planning, buying and creating online media. The comment period will last for the next two months. Following a review of the feedback, the guidelines will become final.

The IAB and its Rich Media Task Force developed the guidelines after reviewing extensive user acceptance and ad effectiveness research, polling marketers and over 23 agencies to ascertain their particular needs and determining publisher and technology vendor requirements. In sum, the research showed that a users ability to control a Rich Media ad was of paramount importance and the Task Force issued the final guidelines based upon this finding. Highlights of the guidelines include the following:

All Audio must be user-initiated with the exception of ads that run in a context where the user has already accepted audio (i.e. an ad that runs during a user initiated movie trailer containing audio.)

All ads must offer a “close box” or “skip-ad” button (specifics vary by ad – see chart below.)

Animation can run for no longer than 15 seconds for Within-the-Page and Over-the-Page and no longer than 30 seconds for Between-Pages and In-Stream ads.

“These guidelines are one of the rare instances where implementation is a win-win for consumers and businesses alike. Consumers will be pleased with new controls they gain over their online experience and buyers and agencies profit from creating against set specifications that have been tested and determined to be effective,” said Adam Gelles, Director, Industry Initiatives, IAB. “We look forward to the comments from the industry over the next two months.”

The IAB and the IAB Rich Media Task Force are updating these guidelines in order to recognize and address critical innovations and changes in Rich Media currently used by advertisers, as well as the extraordinary growth rate for the segment. Rich Media usage grew from 3% in 2002 to 8% in 2003, and accounted for 10% of all ad format use in the 4th Quarter of 2003 (Source: IAB/PwC Internet Ad Revenue Report 4/2004). In addition, several ad effectiveness research studies prove that Rich Media is successful in lifting hard-to-move metrics like purchase intent (Source: Dynamic Logic, 2003&2004).

Other research demonstrates that users spend significant time interacting with Rich Media. Specifically, the average display time for a rich media ad is 85 seconds (based on DoubleClick inventory) and the average time spent interacting with the ad is 30 seconds (Source: DART Motif Data Q1 2004.) According to DoubleClick, 30 seconds is a key number in media metrics: a standard TV ad is a 30 second “opportunity to view”; while this statistic shows that users are actually interacting with rich media the same amount of time.

The IAB does not condone nor endorse any online ad format. With respect to voluntary guidelines, it suggests thoughtful and well-researched recommendations that will improve the overall online ad business.

The following chart outlines the proposed guidelines for Over-the-Page Rich Media Units:

IAB Rich Media Task Force:

The Rich Media Task Force is chaired by David Shen, VP International Products, Yahoo!. The Research sub-committee is chaired by Mike Hurt, MSN. Participating companies include: 24/7 RealMedia, About, Inc., AccuWeather.com, Advertising.com, American Greetings.com, AOL, AtlasDMT, Belo Interactive, Bluestreak, Classified Ventures (Cars.com), Cartoon Network, CBS MarketWatch.com, CheckM8, Classmates.com, CNET Networks, CondéNet, DoubleClick, Edmunds.com, Electronic Arts, The Excite Network, Eyeblaster, EyeWonder, Falk North America, Fastclick, Homestore.com, IGN/GameSpy, Interpolls, iVillage Inc., Kelley Blue Book, Klipmart, Macromedia, Morningstar.com, MSN, PointRoll, Solbright, Prospective Direct, Skyworks Technologies, Terra Lycos, TV Guide Online, Unicast, Univision, USAToday.com, ValueClick, Vibrant Media, Viewpoint, The Walt Disney Internet Group, Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive, weather.com, and Yahoo!.

About the IAB:

Founded in 1996, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) represents the leading companies in the interactive space. Membership includes companies that are actively engaged in, and support the sale of interactive advertising in addition to being responsible for selling over 85% of online advertising in the United States IAB members include AOL, CNET Networks, DoubleClick, MSN, Google, Overture, The Walt Disney Internet Group, Yahoo! and over 150 others.   On behalf of its members, the IAB evaluates and recommends standards and practices, fields interactive effectiveness research and educates the advertising industry regarding the use of interactive advertising.  For more information on the IAB please visit www.iab.net.

Marla Nitke IAB
[email protected]