IAB Study Praises Mobile Ad Format

'Scroller Ads' Scored Well in Areas Like Creativity And Enjoyment, Study Says

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An emerging mobile ad unit that fills the screen without covering up editorial content is a promising approach to ad-blocking concerns, according to a study released Thursday by the Interactive Advertising Bureau.

"Scrollers" are mobile ad units that appear as a full-screen window onto a creative execution as consumers scroll down on a web page. Because consumers can simply scroll past them, the ads are non-invasive, according to the report.

About 500 survey takers were split into two groups and shown ads featuring a Schick razor in either scroller or expandable banner ad formats.

Scroller ad units significantly outperformed expandable banners in areas like creativity and enjoyment. Forty-five percent of those who saw the scroller ads said they enjoyed them, while 32% of those who saw the expandable banner ads said the same thing.

The scroller ads consistently scored higher in areas like brand favorability and purchase intent, although not by much, and the researchers did not ask subjects about the Schick brand before showing the ads.

The study also broke down some results by age, showing 65% of those aged 18 to 34 enjoyed the scroller ad, compared to 45% who saw the other ad unit. The numbers were much lower for those older than 35, as 35% who viewed scrollers enjoyed them, while 26% of those who saw the expandable banner ads said the same thing.

About 67% of those who saw the scroller ad said it was distinctive when compared to all other mobile ads, compared to 57% of people who saw the expandable banner.

The IAB said the scroller ads comport with its LEAN principles calling for encrypted and lightweight units that won't push more consumers into the arms of ad blockers.

The concept of scroller ads are not new. In 2013, the unit was dubbed the "new page turn" by Vox Media. But the ad unit's introduction to mobile, and how it's designed under the hood to meet LEAN guidelines, is more recent. Celtra, a display and video ad company, produced the creative for the new study.

The IAB said it is not promoting scrollers as a new standard ad unit, but wants to encourage innovation and testing. The IAB worked with Millward Brown Digital, Celtra and PadSquad to test the efficacy of the ad.

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CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article erroneously said the IAB had concluded that scroller ad units could not be blocked. The IAB said the units don't block content, not that they were impervious to ad-blocking tech.