Why did IAB prepare an In-Feed Ad Unit Deep Dive?
While the IAB Native Advertising Playbook (12/14) did a great job at identifying the six different types of native ad formats, the IAB Native Advertising Playbook V2 working group* felt it was time to take a deeper dive into the In-Feed Ad Unit Type given the growth and evolution of this ad unit type since the Playbook was written. We wanted to help marketers and agencies understand the variety of creative options available today. Senior industry leaders in the native space were surprisingly consistent in their feedback and recommendations about what should or shouldn’t be included in the Deep Dive Document. The entire Native Advertising and Content Marketing Task Force groups, totaling over 200 companies, were invited to comment on the initial working group draft document.
~ Kayla Wilson, Senior Partner Manager, Global Alliances & Programmatic at InMobi, who served as the lead of the IAB In-Feed Deep Dive Working Group
The ultimate goal of the IAB Deep Dive on In-Feed Ad Units document is to provide best practice guidance that the in-feed ad type should align with a given publisher’s environment/UX to meet the advertiser’s goals.
Why focus on in-feed ads by feed type?
We focused on exploring the most commonly used in-feed ad types found on the three dominant feed types: Content Feeds, Social Feeds, and Product Feeds. Focusing on feed types helps buyers and sellers to have a common framework to assess existing and future opportunities for current and emerging new in-feed ad types on both web and mobile based on their goals. We felt this was important so that marketers and agencies know their creative options for in-feed advertising, particularly as more in-feed ads are served programmatically.
~ Dan Greenberg, Founder and CEO of Sharethrough and co-chair of the IAB Native Advertising Task Force
Focusing on feed types will be more productive in understanding which ad types are most appropriate to meet an advertiser’s goal.
This is about best practice guidance and principles, not about being prescriptive.
As both feed and ad formats continue to evolve, this deep dive helps provide a framework for evaluating the in-feed ad opportunities available today. Rather than dictating the exact ad experience, this document is meant to provide example implementations and guidelines on how to remain native within the feed context, ensuring the form and function of the ad align with the feed type to provide the best possible experience.
~ Graham Harris, Sr. Director, Advanced Creative at Yahoo, co-chair of the IAB Native Advertising Task Force
The message is clear– just because you can put any type of in-feed ad on any type of feed, doesn’t necessarily mean you should. Advertiser should respect the consumer expectation on an individual publisher site and publishers should consider rejecting ad types that do no meet their consumer expectation.
IAB In-Feed Deep Dive Summary
The below infographic summarizes the possible combinations of the three main feed types and the four main ad types. Again, this is not meant to be prescriptive, but rather a view of potential combinations of the most common feeds and ad types used today. Additional wireframe examples are found in the Deep Dive document.
IAB Deep Dive on In-Feed Ad Units looks into today...View infographic
The IAB Native Advertising Evaluation Continuum
IAB Native Advertising Task Force members continue to recommend that marketers and agencies evaluate native advertising options, in-feed or other types, on the IAB five-point criteria as outlined in the original IAB Native Advertising Playbook and included in the Deep Dive.
And, as always, disclosure remains of paramount importance. As outlined in the IAB Recommended Native Advertising Disclosure Principles, simply put: Regardless of context, a reasonable consumer should be able to distinguish between what is paid advertising vs. what is publisher editorial content.
In-feed ad unit adoption is growing across publisher sites with different ad unit types introduced and/or retired quickly.In addition, feed types are also evolving beyond the three main types (content, social and product), to mixed feed types that have variable aesthetics/content which don’t fall clearly into one bucket. But even with these changes over time, it is important that one thing remain the same and that is the need to evaluate the in-feed ads from the consumer perspective to ensure that they remain native, meaning that they are so cohesive with the page content, assimilated into the design, and consistent with the platform behavior that the viewer simply feels that they belong.
It is our hope that publishers, marketers and agencies will find this deep dive into in-feed advertising options on different types of feeds to be helpful, particularly as more in-feed ads are served programmatically.
*IAB acknowledges the Native Advertising Playbook V2 working group members from AdsNative, Bidtellect, Bloomberg, Demand Media, Disney Interactive, Disqus, GumGum, InMobi, Meredith Digital, Mixpo, my6sense, Nativo, OneSpot, Polar, PowerLinks Media, PubMatic, Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Selectable Media, Sharethrough, The Daily News, Time Inc., TripleLift, Tumblr and Yahoo, plus the many IAB members of the Native Advertising Task Force who provided thought leadership leading to the final document.