Rich Media Guidance

IAB released a complete overhaul of the IAB Standard Ad Unit Portfolio, for public comment, updating its digital ad formats to adapt across screens, and to incorporate the LEAN Principles of lightweight, encrypted, AdChoice supported, and non-invasive advertising. Please review the technical specifications and email your comments to [email protected] by December 22, 2016. 

Read the press release and view all documents and examples here.


IAB has updated those Rich Media Guidelines to reference HTML5 ad requirements. You can download the complete 2015 Advertising creative Guidelines for Display & Mobile – updated for HTML5 in PDF or in Excel.

Creative Unit Name: In-Banner Video Expandable/Retractable Pop Ups Floating Between-the-Page (aka "Interstitial")
Initial Dimensions: (WxH in pixels) 300x250, 180x150, 160x600, 728x90, 300x600 300x250, 180x150, 160x600, 728x90, 300x600 300x250
Lg. Pop Up: 550x480
Variable initial dimensions Variable
Maximum Expanded Dimensions: (WxH in pixels) Expansion not allowed for these units 300x250 to 600x250
180x150 to 600x150
160x600 to 600x600
300x600 to 600x600
728x90 to 728x315
Expansion must be user initiated
Expansion not allowed for these units Expansion not allowed for this unit Expansion not allowed for this unit
Max Initial File Load Size: 200 KB 200 KB 200 KB 200 KB 200 KB
Subsequent Max Polite File Load Size: 100 KB 300 KB 300 KB 300 KB 300 KB
Animation/Video Guidelines:
(See video notes below)
Minimum 24 fps for video

15 sec max length (unlimited user-initiated)

1.1 MB additional file size allowed for host-initiated video

Unlimited file size for user-initiated video
Minimum 24 fps for video

15 sec max length (unlimited user-initiated)

1.1 MB additional file size allowed for host-initiated video

Unlimited file size for user-initiated video
Minimum 24 fps for video

15 sec max length (unlimited user-initiated)

1.1 MB additional file size allowed for host-initiated video

Unlimited file size for user-initiated video
Minimum 24 fps for video

15 sec max length (unlimited user-initiated)

1.1 MB additional file size allowed for host-initiated video

Unlimited file size for user-initiated video
Minimum 24 fps for video

15 sec max length (unlimited user-initiated)

1.1 MB additional file size allowed for host-initiated video

Unlimited file size for user-initiated video
Audio Initiation: Must be user initiated (on click: mute/ un-mute); default state is muted Must be user initiated (on click: mute/ un-mute); default state is muted Must be user initiated (on click: mute/ un-mute); default state is muted Must be user initiated (on click: mute/ un-mute); default state is muted Must be user initiated (on click: mute/ un-mute); default state is muted
Z-Index Range: 0 - 4,999 5,000 - 1,999,999 (for entire ad unit) N/A - Pop-ups display in their own browser window, so pop-up ad content has its own z-index 2,000,000 - 2,999,999 N/A - Unless the ad covers content on the target page, then use range for overlays: 6,000,000+
Unit-Specific Notes
(See General Ad Requirements below)
Retract Feature = Either Click to close/expand or Enable Mouse-Off Retraction In the browser bar, all Pop Ups must be clearly labeled with: Name of Network/Advertiser, Publisher, Browser Type [in this order] (ex.: "Advertising.com - CBS Market Watch - Microsoft Internet Explorer")

"Close" control provided by browser window.

Pop-ups display in their own browser window, so pop-up ad content has its own z-index
Label = "Advertisement" Font = 8pt (11px) by 16pt (21px)

"Close X" control required on expanded content, font = 8pt (11px) by 16 pt (21 px)
Label = "Advertisement" Font = 8pt (11px) by 16pt (21px)

"Close" control provided by browser window if ad displays in its own browser window. If overlaid on target page, include "Close X" button. Font = 8pt (11px) by 16pt (21px)
Minimum Required Controls: Controls = Play, Pause, Mute (volume control to zero (0) output may be included instead of or in addition to Mute control) Control = “Close X” on expanded panel and “Expand” on collapsed panel Font = 8pt (11px) - 16pt (21px)

Retract Feature = Either Click to close/expand or Enable Mouse-Off Retraction

Video must include:
Play, Pause, Mute (volume control to zero (0) output may be included instead of or in addition to Mute control)
“Close” control provided by browser window.

Video must include:
Play, Pause, Mute (volume control to zero (0) output may be included instead of or in addition to Mute control)
“Close” control provided by browser window.

Video must include:
Play, Pause, Mute (volume control to zero (0) output may be included instead of or in addition to Mute control)
“Close” control provided by browser window if ad displays in its own browser window. If overlaid on target page, include “Close X” button. Font = 8pt (11px) - 16pt (21px)

Video must include:
Play, Pause, Mute (volume control to zero (0) output may be included instead of or in addition to Mute control)
Guidelines last updated: 09/29/2015

Abbreviations: px = pixel and sec = seconds

General Ad Requirements (Apply to all ads):

Interest-Based Advertising (IBA): Include IBA self-regulation controls for ads using behavioral targeting (5 KB max file size).
Audio: Must be user-initiated. To allow for audio initiation in videos without player controls, a control may be included for user to initiate audio.
Hotspot: Not to exceed 1/4 size of ad. Initiated when cursor rests on hotspot for at least 1 sec. Must NOT initiate audio.
Defining ad space: Ad unit content must be clearly distinguishable from normal webpage content (ad unit must have clearly defined borders and not be confused with normal page content).
Max CPU: ad not to exceed 30% CPU usage during host-initiated execution.
Submission lead time: Minimum lead time for ad file submission is 6 days before campaign start.
Max number of host-initiated file requests: ad not to exceed 15 file requests during initial file load and host-initiated subload. Unlimited file requests allowed after user-interaction.

General Notes:

1. File weight calculation: All files for the ad (.html, .js, .css, images, etc.) must be included as part of the maximum file weight calculation for all file load limits. Shared libraries are also included as part of the file weight calculation unless otherwise expempted (see note 5). File weights are calculated after files have been compressed into gzip format (see note 7).
2. Initial file load: Includes all assets and files necessary for completing first visual display of the Ad.
3. Host-initiated subload: where allowed, additional files may load one second after the browser domContentLoadedEventEnd event. The ad should be able to "listen" for the browser domContentLoadedEventEnd event before subsequent files beyond the initial max file size may be loaded.
4. User-initiated file size: Ads that allow additional file size for host-initiated subload also allow for unlimited file load after user-initiated interaction. User initiation is the willful act of a user to engage with an ad. Users may interact by clicking or tapping the ad, and/or rolling over an ad (or a portion of an ad).
5. Shared Libraries: Publishers are encouraged to approve the use of shared libraries for HTML5 ads and exempt them from the ad's file weight calculation. As part of the publisher's certification process, both the shared libraries and their sources must be approved before any shared libraries may be exempted from the ad's file weight.
6. Rising Star display: Rising Stars ad units are designed to be the only rich media ad unit displayed on a webpage. Because of increased file load size, displaying a Rising Stars ad unit with any other rich media unit may compromise page-load performance. Other non-rich media ads should display without compromising performance.
7. Ad file compression: Ads should be compressed before being served to a site. The most universally compatible format for file compression in transit over the Internet is gzip.
8. Rising Star Style Guides: Please reference these updated guidelines for file sizes, and any references to Flash should be disregarded and replaced with HTML5.

Video Notes:

Required for ads with video: Video may omit controls until user initiates interaction. Upon user interaction, video controls must include Play, Pause, Mute or volume control to zero (0) output for videos that expand out of initial ad upon interaction. For auto play videos that play in banner only Mute or volume control to zero(0) is required.
HTML5 video controls: To improve performance and reduce file size, use control attributes in the HTML5 video tag for controls instead of providing custom assets for displaying controls.
Adaptive bitrate streaming: HTML5 does not support streaming video, but it can simulate a streaming experience using adaptive bitrate streaming technologies such as HLS and MPEG-DASH. Formatting files for adaptive bitrate streaming enables a smoother viewer experience. Adaptive bitrate streaming uses short fragments (2-3 seconds) of the video at different quality levels and stores them in a playlist file such as M3U8. During playback, the player detects bandwidth at the start of each fragment and plays the fragment at the quality level best suited to the bandwidth and player environment. Common protocols for adaptive bitrate streaming include HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) in the US and MPEG-DASH in the EU.
Video codec: Use MPEG-4 (MP4) file formats for H.264-encoded video for a more seamless delivery across devices. The H.264 codec should use a Baseline profile to allow for more diverse execution in systems that range from a cellular connection on a mobile screen to a high-speed cable connection on an HTTP-connect TV screen. For audio, AAC is more widely supported (PCM audio is unsupported in Flash players).
Video format: At a minimum, the MP4/H.264 file format should be provided, but alternate files using formats such as WebM and VP8 may also be submitted.
The MOOV atom: Use the web-optimized setting when encoding the MP4 file, which sets the MOOV (movie) atom at the start of the file.