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Incredible as it may seem, it’s been 10 years since the Interactive Advertising Bureau updated its standard advertising units. Six new formats selected in a “Rising Stars” competition will be officially sanctioned by the IAB if they gain sufficient market traction in the next six months.

The formats were chosen in large part for their brand-friendly canvases, rich-media functionality, and the control they give to consumers to engage without leaving the page they are on. Marketplace success will depend on how many publishers adopt the units to give them true scale. Whether these units alone can successfully unleash pent-up demand to pull in more brand dollars and stave off the commoditization of CPM rates is anyone’s guess, but getting the seal of approval from the IAB is an important first hurdle to clear.

At the recent IAB Annual Leaders Meeting in Palm Springs, California, Google’s Eric Schmidt forecast display advertising could reach $200 billion in 5 to 10 years. The lingering and long-standing obstacle to that goal is how complicated it is to execute an interactive campaign at scale compared to television. Seems we’ve been having that conversation for a decade as well.

As Randall Rothenberg, the newly reinstalled CEO of the IAB, put it:

What Rising Stars emerged from was this whole war that began five years ago between publishers and networks, and you'd see it break out in IAB board meetings where publishers would point fingers at networks and say, "You're commoditizing our inventory!" And networks would be saying, "Well we're not selling anything you're not already giving us!" And we started confronting this question of declining CPMs, which obviously had represented the notion of declining value.

Some of the units up for consideration as standards have been in the market since last year. AOL Project Devil, now reborn as IAB Portrait, was kicked off last September and has been tried by more than 30 brands. IAB Filmstrip, created by Microsoft, will launch in April with a campaign from General Motors' Chevrolet brand.

IAB Portrait

(aka AOL Project Devil)

What is it?

300 x 1050 canvas format with state-of-the-art plug and play functionality

Why was it selected?

Large, creative friendly canvas that balances well with page content.


IAB Slider

(aka Genex Slider from Unicast and Mediamind)

IAB Slider

What is it?

Overlay unit on the bottom of a page mirrors touch screen habit, prompting users to slide the entire page over, unveiling a full branded experience


Why was it selected?

Optimal creative space keeping viewer fully in control of ad experience

IAB Billboard

(aka Google/YouTube Masthead)

What is it?

Large billboard running the full width of the page with full close-ability


Why was it selected?

“Love it or leave it” value exchange with viewer. If they don’t love the large creative, they can close it.

IAB Filmstrip

(aka Microsoft Filmstrip)

What is it?

A 300 x 3000 canvas, viewable through a 300 x 600 window and fully controlled by the viewer.

Why was it selected?

Richly engaging experience with tons of content possibilities delivered in page with users fully in control.


IAB Pushdown

(aka Pictela Pushdown)

What is it?

A pushdown unit with broad functionality via visual toolbar


Why was it selected?

Super rich functionality, elegant layout, and intuitive visual toolbar.

IAB Sidekick

(aka Unicast Sidekick)

What is it?

Expandable format that launches from IAB standard ad, pushing page content leftward, revealing large, functional canvas


Why was it selected?

Large canvas with myriad creative possibilities delivered without affecting page content and leaving viewer in charge

In essence the IAB is challenging the agency community to take these expanded palettes and come back with advertising that is more compelling to the consumer and more innovative overall. (A more descriptive view of all the options can be seen on videos here.) Next on tap are "Rising Stars" for mobile.

What do you think? Do these formats go far enough?

Laurie Petersen

Published 7 March, 2011 by Laurie Petersen

Laurie Petersen is Principal at LP Strategic Communications and a contributor to Econsultancy. Follow her on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn.

11 more posts from this author

Comments (3)

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Dorian

think you've got your 300 and 3,000 reversed

over 5 years ago

Laurie Petersen

Laurie Petersen, President at Laurie Petersen Communications, LLC Small Business

Thanks for the catch!

over 5 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Juan Vender Desde Casa

Is it the consumers or the advertisers who will ultimately prove the success of this story? Would advertisers want to see government regulation?

over 5 years ago

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