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IAB calls for more interactive rich media ads in latest MRAID guidelines

Hoping to encourage marketers to invest more in rich media ads on mobile devices, the Interactive Advertising Bureau today is releasing an updated set of guidelines intended to simplify the process for creating ad units that can change size and deliver consistent experiences.

Marketers are interested in creating rich media ads for mobile devices because they can be a good way to encourage users to engage and interact with a brand. However, thanks to a lack of standards, it can be challenging for marketers to deliver a consistent rich media experience across platforms, something that IAB hopes to address with the update to its Mobile Rich-Media Ad Interface Definitions.

?If MRAID works right, we?ll see mobile rich media ads continue to grow as a share of the total mobile ad ecosystem,? said Joe Laszlo, senior director of the Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence at IAB, New York.

?What it really comes down to is this: Is it making it easier for companies that want to spend more on mobile do that,? he said.

Creative license
MRAID 2.0 builds on the first version of the guidelines, which were was released last year, by allowing agencies to easily run creative across applications from different publishers, rather than needing to rewrite the programming behind ad creative several times.

Providing guidelines for how to create rich media ads for mobile is important because this can help drive further adoption of these highly interactive ad formats.

?Everybody has seen the stats that get thrown around about interaction rates with mobile ads ? they tend to be gratifying high,? Mr. Lazlo said.

?A rich media ad is more inviting than just a standard banner ? there is so much more you can do in mobile that appeals to an end user,? he said.

One of the advances in MRAID 2.0 is that it offers more sophisticated size changes in ads, allowing ads to grow to partial screen, and change size multiple times as users interact with the creative.

Additionally, MRAID 2.0 standardizes how ad creative gets information about screen size, device capabilities and other details relevant to desired ad behavior.

MRAID 2.0 also clarifies the handling of video in the context of mobile rich media banner and interstitial ads and gives ad designers greater control over existing MRAID 1.0 expandable ads while insuring that MRAID 2.0-compliant software development kits can display MRAID 1.0 ads without glitches.

?There are a couple of significant changes we are making and it boils down to giving designers fine-grain control over how their ads behave,? Mr. Lazlo said.

?Ad designers are increasingly relying on HTML5 to build rich media ads,? he said. ?The problem is that it is not fully baked and they are implementing it differently on one OS versus another.

?We are trying to address the things that HTML5 doesn?t do yet. Taken together, MRAID 2.0 and HTML5 unlock a much easier way for ad designers to let their creativity run wild and create ads that consumers will enjoy interacting with.?

Learning a new language
A handful of rich media vendors are already MRAID 1.0 compliant and others are working on becoming compliant. The release of MRAID 2.0 means it will take some time for various players to get up to speed on the new standards.

The IAB will be presenting an overview of MRAID 2.0 at the IAB Mobile Marketplace conference in New York City next week.

There will be a public comment period for the MRAID 2.0 that will run through Aug. 10, which can be submitted via email at .

Click here to see a copy of the public comment version of MRAID 2.0.

For marketers who are evaluating rich media vendors, they may want ask if the company is using MRAID. For designers, there may be a little bit of learning curve before they are comfortable with the standards.

?If they are working with MRAID, it will be easier to build creative and be assured that it will work properly across a wide variety of platforms,? Mr. Lazlo said.

?It should be a fairly easy language for ad creators to use,? he said.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York