An ADOTAS Q&A with Christophe Menard (pictured left), General Manager of Sublime Skinz Inc (USA), explores the new IAB ad standards, the transition to HTML, and how that affects online publishers and advertisers.
The IAB New Ad Portfolio replaces all the previous creative display guidelines for mobile and desktop – including the Universal Ad Package (UAP), rich media units, and other ad units’ related guidance. Streamline design and cross-screen production in this mobile world: Start transitioning your creative and ad placements to the new flexible ad units!
Q: Christophe, what was your involvement in the process to develop the new IAB ad standards?
A: As a global leader in the high impact ad unit space, we participated as a member of the IAB working group developing the new standards. We represented the views of those companies that provide “non standard units” making sure that those interests were incorporated into the new guidelines. We also provided input regarding publisher and advertiser considerations and have been a champion of the LEAN principles from the beginning. We believe in the importance of preserving the user experience at all costs and not intruding on it in the interest of commercialization.
FYI: LEAN stands for…
L: Light. Limited file size with strict data call guidelines.
E: Encrypted. Assure user privacy with ads delivered over HTTPS. Protect server-to-server communication.
A: Ad Choices Support. All ads should support DAA’s consumer privacy programs.
N: Non-invasive/Non-disruptive. Ads that supplement the user experience and don’t disrupt it. This includes covering content and sound enabled by default.
Q: Is more standardization a good thing for advertisers? For publishers?
A: Yes, standardization (of ads) certainly makes it easier on advertisers. As it is, they are dealing with so many different versions of creative—and ad executions. The result has been great inefficiencies in process at significant cost. Anything to mitigate that will help. The same goes for publishers. The more they can operate with standard units, the less time is required of them to focus on the process and the more they can concentrate on what they do best—providing the best content and delivering results. At the same time, though, there is still some room for publishers—and advertisers—to take advantage of non-standard units. If all ad units become too commoditized they will become just that—a commodity—with little room for creativity and value enhancement from ads that may not adhere to the norms.
Q: What are some of the core principles of LEAN and how are you aligned with them?
A: Our company DNA is predicated on LEAN—in essence, preserving the user experience at all costs. Often times, with “high impact” ads, they come at the cost of a diminished user experience. To us, an ad that diminishes the user experience is useless. Ads should complement—and even enhance—experience. We’ve been at the forefront of inventing and innovating new ad formats that combine a positive experience with high impact. At our core we believe you don’t have to forgo being non-intrusive to deliver high impact.
Q: How will these new IAB changes affect high impact ad units? What happens to units that aren’t IAB approved?
A: The new IAB standards will be good for high impact ads, because they will force everyone to adhere to the LEAN principles and to put greater value on user experience. That will improve the view of high impact in general in the marketplace. At the same time, there will always be room for “out of the box” high impact alternatives, and those that cut through the clutter of commoditization—even if they don’t conform to the new standards. In that case, “scarcity” can be good and the results quite memorable.
Q: What does the transition to HTML5 mean for publishers?
A: In general, HTML5 delivers better results for advertisers, and, accordingly, for publishers. HTML ads are more engaging, result in more time spent and ultimately are better branding, and performance, vehicles. In the end, that means more revenue for publishers—which is a good thing!
Q: How does this transition benefit advertisers?
A: As mentioned, HTML5 delivers better results—for advertisers AND publishers. More engagement, more time spent and more effective ad executions means better results from the ads and ultimately more $$ for marketers through increased sales. Also via HTML5-based creative, advertisers will be able to benefit from premium KPIs that go beyond viewability and CTR. We will be able to measure time spent within the creative and track every rollover done within the ad unit.
Q: What are you doing to better position yourselves in this evolving ad environment?
A: As ad standards continue to evolve, we remain laser focused on delivering the best results and user experience in conjunction with superior execution and seamless operation. We recently acquired Kpsule, which is a leader in HTML ad formats, and are looking forward to introducing a number of new HTML-based high impact formats that further our leadership position in high impact advertising, maximizing user engagement with minimal intrusion.