IAB Sets Standards for Online Video Ads

Limits In-Stream Commercial Length to No More Than 30 Seconds

By Published on .

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- The Interactive Advertising Bureau yesterday released guidelines to provide creative parameters for the making of online video broadband commercials.

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The guidelines address the length of video ads and how much control the user should have over the ad, but do not yet to cover issues such as frequency capping and how to serve and track such ads.

Although spending for Internet video advertising in the U.S. will nearly triple in 2007 to $640 million from this year's $225 million, according to predictions from online market research firm eMarketer, broadband videos are already so popular with marketers that there is a chronic shortage of video ad inventory. One agency executive hopes the guidelines will actually help increase video ad inventory.

More takers
"More publishers will take video because they can just look to the IAB guidelines," said Kate Everett-Thorp, president-interactive marketing, AKQA.

But these guidelines are in no way the final definition of what video advertising will be, added Ms. Everett-Thorp, who helped develop early IAB guidelines on defining "ad impression" and "clickthrough" in the mid-90s.

"It's up to the creative talent out there to make [ads] better," she added.

The IAB document recommends that in-stream commercials may be up to (but not longer) than 30 seconds for ads that appear before and in between broadband content. Ads that appear after content has played can be as long at the publisher deems appropriate.

Some control
The minimum controls available to the user should be Start/Stop and Volume On/Off and Softer/Louder. "Other recommended and acceptable controls include Fast Forward/Rewind, Pause and Zoom," the guidelines said. While the guidelines allow for some control, but do not let the user skip the ad or fast-forward it in a TiVo-like way. "As an agency, we are hoping they will watch the ad, but the richer the content, the more important is the value proposition [to watch the ad]," Ms. Everett-Thorp said.

As the IAB broadband committee moves forward in its recommendations, she would like to see guidelines on frequency that would limit how often an individual user would see an ad. In addition to frequency-capping, other issues the IAB will look into are the optimum length and ad effectiveness as ads play next to particular types of content, and what kind of serving and tracking is acceptable.

IAB members are eligible to receive a "compliance seal" when they adhere to these guidelines.

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