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IAB addresses cross-screen campaigns, mobile ad measurement with new standards

While mobile advertising continues to grow, the experience for marketers and users is still not always what it could be, which is why the Interactive Advertising Bureau is diving in with a wide range of new standards that cover the mobile Web, applications and HTML5.

Mobile advertising is a complex ecosystem encompassing different mobile operating systems, different carriers and a variety of ad networks and other players, making it difficult for marketers to deploy and measure campaigns. By introducing standards, the IAB hopes to eliminate some of the confusion and friction related to mobile ad measurement which, in turn, could help drive up the size of mobile ad budgets.

?In some ways, HTML5 is itself a standard, so why create a standard for a standard?? said Joe Laszlo, senior director of the Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence at the IAB, New York. ?If you look closely at HTML5, it is so new and not fully baked yet.

?There are so many differences in how it is used across mobile operating systems, so there is a lot of need for guidance,? he said.

?Looking forward, a couple of years, we all hope that HTML5 lives up to the promise of writing once and deploying everywhere, and hopefully these guidelines will help achieve that goal.?

HTML5 on the rise
The most recent standards introduced by the IAB are related to HTML5 and address the growing interest in cross-screen campaigns that leverage a build it once and deploy it everywhere strategy.

The recently published final version of the HTML5 guidelines is called "HTML5 for Digital Advertising 1.0: Guidance for Ad Designers & Creative Technologists." 

The guidelines address such factors as HTML5 display ad units, file and ad unit size, code and asset compression, in-banner video advertising and animation, efficient ad creative packaging and ad server compatibility communication recommendations.

The goal is to help marketers reduce operational costs and simplify cross-screen ad creation.

?There are lots and lots of companies using HTML5 already,? Mr. Lazlo said. ?If they are creating mobile ads, they are more likely than not using HTML5 to make the rich media aspects of them work.

?HTML5 is where a lot of mobile ad creative is going in the future,? he said.

The HTML5 guidelines follow the release of final measurement guidelines for mobile app and mobile Web ads released last week by the IAB, Mobile Marketing Association and Media Rating Council.

Measuring up
Measuring the effectiveness of mobile advertising is still a challenge for many. As a result, some marketers are holding off shifting more of their budgets into mobile until they can more accurately measure their return on investment.

The set of measurement guidelines, "Mobile Application Advertising Measurement Guidelines and Mobile Web Advertising Measurement Guidelines," is focused on ensuring that media companies, networks and ad servers deliver high quality data to ad buyers.

The goal is to give buyers and sellers of mobile ads confidence that the performance and effectiveness of campaigns can be consistently and accurately measured. This, in turn, is expected to encourage bigger mobile ad budgets.

The guidelines address such issues as providing a mandate that only client-side counting is allowed for mobile app ad impressions, a requirement that SDKs that handle ad loading ensure impression counting does not happen prematurely and guidance around how frequently an app should be permitted to change the ads displayed within an app.

IAB and other organizations have released many different guidelines in the mobile space, with the sheer number of guidelines itself a challenge for marketers.

?The number of standards becomes complex,? Mr. Lazlo said. ?It helps to provide an organization scheme for the standards.

?The HTML5 guidelines are part of a family of standards around mobile ad creative that also includes Mobile Ad Rising Stars and Mobile Phone Creative Guidelines,? he said. ?The HTML5 guidelines provide instruction on how to fill mobile ad canvases.

?The measurement guidelines for the mobile Web and apps address how do you tell how many ads you bought.?

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