Over the past two years, one of the ways the Interactive Advertising Bureau has tried to spur increased spending in digital advertising is through its "Rising Stars" program. The initiative sees ad-tech and media firms collaborate to develop ad formats that, at least in theory, would allow advertisers and their agencies a better canvas to tell their brand stories. Publishers, in theory, could then charge more for these ad units that tap into brand budgets.
First came the initiative for display ads. Next the IAB took on mobile. And today it's unveiling five video ad formats that it hopes will eventually become industry standards. A group of agency execs chose the five formats, which were submitted by 12 combined companies including Jivox, Tremor Video and Microsoft.
One of the five winners, called "Extender," gives viewers the option to watch an extended version of the ad if they so choose. Another simply includes an "ad control bar" from which viewers can do things like easily share the ad to social networks or pull up a store locator. The other three: "Full Screen; "Filmstrip"; and something called "TimeSync," which overlays video with ad content.
"We know that just as there was in display, floodgates of digital video content will open shortly and we will see immense amounts of digital video inventory," said Peter Minnium, the IAB's head of brand initiatives. "And if we just repurpose television there's the danger that this won't be as valuable a category as it should be."
What Mr. Minnium is essentially referring to is the idea of commoditization. By offering interactive elements on top of ads, publishers may have the opportunity to make more money from video ads. There's a pattern: As ad prices on display ads dip, more publishers turn to video because video ads typically command higher prices. If display ad prices dip more, perhaps publishers will look to offer even more expensive video ad formats to their advertisers. Viewers, the thinking goes, may find these interactive elements more enjoyable. There's still, of course, the issue of viewers hating sitting through pre-rolls on short videos, and this won't solve for that.
The tech and media firms who played a part in developing the winners will work with the IAB over the next three to four months to hash out a style guide and tech specs for the formats. The eventual goal is to make them IAB standard units that are compatible with various video players and can work across devices.