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IAB Releases 2009 Update to Ad Unit Guidelines

Opens the Door to “Rising Stars” That Encourage Online Advertising Creativity

New York, NY (November 16, 2009) – To set the stage for greater innovation and creativity in online advertising, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) today announced the release of the “Ad Unit Guidelines 2009 Update.” For the first time, creative agencies lent their insights to the annual ad unit recommendations, joining the media agencies and publishers who have customarily been a part of the process. The news was announced at the IAB’s annual Ad Ops Summit in New York City.

Including creative professionals in the process of updating ad unit guidelines is a key aspect of the IAB’s Reimagining Interactive Advertising initiative, which brings together leaders from creative agencies, media agencies, and publishers to discuss next steps in the creative evolution of digital marketing. The resulting joint publisher-agency working group, the Reimagining Interactive Advertising Task Force, took on as its first order of business updating the criteria for standard ad units by looking at industry-wide impression count reports, ad unit availability, agency-side effectiveness reviews and creative preferences. With the new criteria, it made recommendations on the current list of eighteen standard ad units, including:

  • In order to be considered a standard, an ad unit must be commonly bought and offered throughout the marketplace; only seven of the eighteen ad units currently on the list meet the new criteria.
  • Ad units will not be removed from the standard list in 2009, but must meet the criteria by the end of 2010

In 2010 the Reimagining Interactive Advertising Task Force will release “Rising Stars,” the first list of ad units to be identified by the task force using qualitative criteria of perceived effectiveness and creative preference to encourage innovation and creativity in online advertising. “Rising Stars” may ultimately become standard ad units if and when they meet the quantitative requirements for adoption and marketplace impressions.

“By bringing agencies into the process of developing standard ad units, we have taken a step towards improving the creative output and branding potential for interactive media,” said Randall Rothenberg, President and CEO of the IAB. “Our next order of business is to drive towards adoption of revised standards that we believe will spur increased investment in interactive advertising—we’ve already proven that there is no medium more accountable—now we have to bring all of its capabilities together to tell great stories to consumers—that’s what advertising is all about.”

“Being a part of this process gave voice to the creative challenges that agencies faced with the existing standards, ad units, and technologies, and I believe we’ve found a solid way forward in overcoming those challenges,” said Jim Russell, Partner, EVP, Director of Digital Strategy, McKinney. “Our goal was to simplify the existing list and I think we’ve developed a long-term strategy for doing this on behalf of the industry.”

To review IAB Ad Unit Guidelines Update 2009, please go to http://www.iab.net/adunit

About the IAB’s Reimagining Interactive Advertising Taskforce:
The Reimagining Interactive Advertising Taskforce was formed to represent the entire interactive ecosystem. Members from creative and media agencies, publishers, networks, and vendors meet to discuss creativity, strategic marketing, media planning and buying, and publisher insights and challenges. Their goal is to create solutions that allow the ecosystem to further harness the power of digital media.

About the IAB:
The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) is comprised of more than 375 leading media and technology companies who are responsible for selling 86% of online advertising in the United States. On behalf of its members, the IAB is dedicated to the growth of the interactive advertising marketplace, of interactive’s share of total marketing spend, and of its members’ share of total marketing spend. The IAB educates marketers, agencies, media companies and the wider business community about the value of interactive advertising. Working with its member companies, the IAB evaluates and recommends standards and practices and fields critical research on interactive advertising. Founded in 1996, the IAB is headquartered in New York City with a Public Policy office in Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit www.iab.net.

IAB Media Contact:
Marla Aaron
Director, Marketing Communications