In-App Ad Formats: Making Sense of a Dynamic (and Chaotic) Environment

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The IAB has released the second edition of our Prevailing Mobile In-App Ad Formats. This is a summary of a survey of IAB members to assess in-app ad sizes that are currently being sold by publishers and ad networks. While we don’t intend for this document to have the force of an ad format guideline, we do want to help both buyers and sellers understand what ad sizes are popular, and identify key ad size trends as devices and apps evolve.

Version 1 of this document was released in July 2010. For the current iteration, 12 IAB members that sell in-app ads supplied ad sizes. The IAB makes some basic observations based on this rather small data set, as well as offering some broader best practices for in-app advertising.

Findings include:

  • 320x50 seems to be the smartphone banner ad size of choice—many publishers are selling it, and that space can also easily accommodate 300x50s, the other most common smartphone banner size.

  • 300x250 IAB Medium Rectangles are one of the few (perhaps the only) ad sizes available and familiar across phones, tablets, and PCs.

  • Not many publishers are selling “HD screen” smartphone ads (e.g., for Retina Display iOS or similar Android devices) yet.

  • iPad ad sizes are all over the map (30+ distinct sizes being sold by the 12 publishers who participated in the IAB survey), though a couple of IAB Web ad formats have some traction.

iPhone.png 320x50 expandable to full-screen (also shakable) ad for Dunkin Donuts, ran on The Weather Channel’s iPhone app. Source: Medialets.


In addition to the IAB Prevailing In-App Ad Formats (we expect to release results from the upcoming third edition of this survey in July), those interested in in-app ad formats should definitely check out the MMA’s latest ad size standards, which include specifications for some standard in-app ad sizes. Also, the IAB is in planning stages to launch a Rising Stars competition for rich, inventive, brand-friendly mobile ad formats later this year. Stay tuned for more on that.

Joe Laszlo is Deputy Director of the Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence, at the IAB.

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