Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi
 


Monday, April 27, 2009

Online Video Ad Formats: IAB Guidelines And Metrics To Monetize Online Videos

The online video advertising market seems to show no decline despite the economic crisis. The last report from LiveRail shows that average CPMs keeps growing bravely, and internet video consumption has been experiencing a massive growth of 40% and more.

online_video_advertising_in-stream_formats_size485.jpg

Since this trend has kept growing almost unstoppably since 2005, there's no sign it will ease off pretty soon. That's why it is so important that you keep up with both technical and creative aspects of online videos, and the new entrants in this field are those in-stream ads you can see on the big video platforms like YouTube or Hulu.

If you want to get a comprehensive overview of the opportunities to monetize your existing video archive or your upcoming daily video production, the International Advertising Bureau has put together an official set of guidelines and metrics to make sense of the emergent set of standard in-stream video ad formats.

 

Digital Video In-Stream Ad Format Guidelines and Best Practices

online_video_advertising_in-stream_formats_youtube.jpg

by Internet Advertising Bureau Digital Video Committee

In order to simplify the digital video advertising buying and selling process, the Digital Video Committee of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) has developed these guidelines and best practices for the most common current in-stream ad formats, including:

  • Linear video ads
  • Non-linear video ads
  • Companion ads

These recommendations have been constructed for these ad formats in order to meet the following
marketplace needs:

  • More efficient operations through a common set of creative submission guidelines
  • More efficient development of ads and players through minimum common creative guidelines, including click functionality and duration definitions
  • Easier digital video ad buying across multiple sites through minimum common ad sizes for overlay and companion ads
  • Better consumer understanding of ad interactions and environments through best practice recommendations for creative development and player environments

There are three types of recommendations contained in this document for each ad format:

  • Ad Format guidelines
  • Common creative submission recommendations
  • Additional best practices

Publishers will be able to self-attest to the IAB for a compliance seal by adhering to these Ad Format
Guidelines.

All other recommendations in this document should be considered best practices and should strongly be considered for adoption, but are not necessary for compliance.
It is also important to note that this document has certain scope boundaries:

  • This document supersedes the 2005 Broadband Ad Creative Guidelines; the original 2005 document is now obsolete
  • Measurement of impressions or other metrics is not addressed in this document
  • Although many of these formats can apply to full-screen and live experiences, this document does not specifically address those environments because of the high level of customization between publishers. The IAB encourages, where possible, that these guidelines be used in those situations.

While this document's purpose is to develop more standardization in the most common areas of the digital video landscape, the IAB continues to encourage creativity and innovation in video ad formats.

As with all IAB guidelines, this document will be updated as the dynamic digital video advertising landscape progresses and new ad formats become more widely adopted.

 






Video Formats


Click above to open the full image

In November 2005, the IAB Broadband Committee (now the Digital Video Committee) released creative guidelines for online video commercials to further enhance the user experience and improve the efficiency of planning, buying, and creating online media without constraining creative opportunities for marketers.
Since 2005, both the experiences and consumption of video content have evolved significantly and newer video ad formats have been introduced to compliment these emerging types of video experiences and environments. This document is meant to build upon those guidelines by offering more detail on both the creative and technical aspects of video player and ad development.

Currently the most common digital video ad experiences are either viewed within or around "in-stream", "in-banner" or "in-text" video formats.

  • In-Stream Video is generally played or viewed from a video player.
  • In-Banner Video is generally displayed in IAB standard ad units.
  • In-Text Video is generally user-initiated and triggered by relevant highlighted words within content.

This document delivers standards and best practices around in-stream ad products only.

 






In-Stream Video Advertising

online_video_advertising_in-stream_formats_guidelines.jpg

There are two core video ad format categories in today's in-stream ad experiences. These are, "Linear Video" ads and "Non-linear Video" ads:

  • Linear Video ad: The ad is presented before, in the middle of, or after the video content is consumed by the user, in very much the same way a TV commercial can play before, during or after the chosen program.

    One of the key characteristics of a linear video ad is that the user watches the ad in addition to the content as the ad takes over the full view of the video.

    Common linear video ad formats include pre-rolls, interactive takeovers, and short bumper vignettes that appear prior to the video content stream.



  • Non-linear Video ad: The ad runs concurrently with the video content so the users see the ad while viewing the content.

    Non-linear video ads can be delivered as text, graphical ads, or as video overlays.

    Common non-linear video ad formats include:

    • Overlays which are shown directly over the content video itself. Note that an overlay ad can also be delivered over a linear ad experience as well, generally prompting the user to
      interact with the ad when the user mouses over the ad.
    • Product placements which are ads placed within the video content itself.



Both linear and non-linear video ad formats have the option of being paired with what is commonly referred to as a "Companion Ad".

  • Companion Ads: Commonly text, display ads, rich media, or skins that wrap around the video experience. These ads come in a number of sizes and shapes and typically run alongside or surrounding the video player.

    The primary purpose of the companion ad is to offer sustained visibility of the sponsor throughout the video experience.

    Companion ads may offer click-through interactivity and rich media experiences, such as expansion of the ad, for further engagement opportunities.



The following sections detail the ad format guidelines, recommended submission guidelines, and best
practices for the following in-stream video ad formats:

  • Linear Video Ad with or without Companion Ads
  • Linear Video Interactive Ad
  • Non-Linear Overlay Ad
  • Non-Linear Non-Overlay Invitation Ad



This document was written to address the informational needs of advertising agencies, advertisers,
vendors and publishers.

 






Linear Video Ad Formats



Linear Video Ad With or Without Companion Ad

online_video_advertising_in-stream_formats_companion-video_ad.jpg

User Experience Description

A time-limited video advertisement that can be shown before, in the middle of, or after the user sees the content in the video player.

A clickable companion ad is typically run adjacent to the player content window.

 

Linear Video Ad Format Guidelines

  • Insertion point: Can be placed pre-roll, mid-roll or post-roll.


  • Maximum ad display duration: 30 seconds or 15 seconds max. Ads may be less than but not exceed these maximum durations.


  • Click Event: Both the video window and companion ad may be clickable with links to advertiser site


  • Controls:
    • Since ads are displayed when a user opts-in to view content, it is recommended that all linear video ads be host-initiated
    • Minimum player controls present should be Start/Stop and Volume On / Off / Softer / Louder. Other recommended and acceptable buttons include Fast Forward / Rewind, Pause, Zoom and other Interactive buttons as needed. All buttons should be enabled throughout the video ad play, with the exception of Fast Forward.


  • Companion ad sizes: If a publisher offers companion ads as part of a linear video ad product, as per the "companion ad" section of this document at least one of the following companion ad sizes should be accepted:

    • 300x250
    • 300x100
    • 468x60
    • 728x90
    • 300x60



It is important to note that this is a minimum consideration set and that other ad sizes may also be offered by a publisher in addition to at least one of the listed sizes.

 

Linear Video Ad Submission Recommendations

It is recommended, but not required for guideline compliance, that publishers adopt the following list of specifications in order to encourage standardized and more operationally efficient submission practices.

  • Video file technical specifications:

    1. Bit rates: Greater than 2Mbps.
    2. Resolution (in pixels): 640x480 preferred; 400x300 minimum; these dimensions may be adapted to accommodate wide screen videos.
    3. Color depth: 32-bit.
    4. Key frames: every 1 second.
    5. Frame rate: At least 15 frames per second.
    6. Recommended codecs for video asset submission: MPEG2, WMV, H.264 / AAC.


  • Aspect ratio: 4:3 (standard screen) or 16:9 (wide screen). Publishers may scale the submission to fit their player (e.g. colored bands may be added around the ad.)


  • Leaders (slate): Video creative may be submitted without leaders (slate) before ad
    content.


  • Scalability: If scaling of ad is possible, publishers should disclose to buyers in creative specs how scaling may occur.

 

Linear Video Ad Best Practices for Publishers

  1. Video players should gracefully accommodate both aspect ratios (4:3 or 16:9) by adding color bands or adjusting the player size to fit.


  2. Publishers should disclose to advertisers when running multiple ads in a pod during commercial breaks.



  3. Other durations commonly accepted:

    • Short-form video creative (aka "bumper", 3-10 seconds in length)
    • 60 second spots (should be run sparingly and only as post-roll or during extended mid-roll ad slots)


  4. Publishers should accept at least one of the following formats for companion ads: jpeg, gif, png, swf (Adobe Flash), and xap (Microsoft Silverlight).



  5. In order to deliver optimal user experiences, publishers should continuously manage and analyze the ratio of ads to content.



  6. It is recommended that frequency capping practices be employed. When frequency capping is practiced, publishers should disclose frequency capping practices to the buyers.

 



Linear Video Interactive Ad

online_video_advertising_in-stream_formats_interactive_ad.jpg



User Experience Description

Ad experience allows a user to interact with an ad message within a video window. The ad plays for a prescribed minimum length of time (usually length of video creative) inviting the user to interact.

Ad duration can continue if the user continues to interact with the ad based on publisher criteria. The ad may include video, animation, or images.

A key aspect of this unit is that everything is displayed within the video frame.

 

Linear Video Interactive Ad Format Guidelines

  • Insertion point: Can be placed pre-roll, mid-roll or post-roll.


  • Maximum ad display duration: 30 seconds or 15 seconds max. Ads may be less than but not exceed these maximum durations.


  • Click Event: Both the video window and companion ad may be clickable with links to advertiser site


  • Linear Video Interactive Ad Unit format: Publishers should accept one of two types of interactive ad unit with the following format requirements:
    1. Full-video-window rich media interactive unit file format: Publishers should accept at least one of the following file formats: swf, flv (Adobe Flash), and xap (Microsoft Silverlight). It is important to note that some integration with publishers may still be required.

    2. Linear video ad with interactive overlays. See format guidelines for linear video ads.





Linear Video Interactive Ad Submission Recommendations

It is recommended, but not required for guideline compliance, that publishers adopt the following list of specifications in order to encourage standardized and more operationally efficient submission practices.

  • Video file technical specifications:

    1. Bit rates: Greater than 2Mbps.
    2. Resolution (in pixels): 640x480 preferred; 400x300 minimum; these dimensions may be adapted to accommodate wide screen videos.
    3. Color depth: 32-bit.
    4. Key frames: every 1 second.
    5. Frame rate: At least 15 frames per second.
    6. Recommended codecs for video asset submission: MPEG2, WMV, H.264 / AAC.


  • Leaders (slate): Video creative may be submitted without leaders (slate) before ad
    content.

 

Linear Video Interactive Ad Best Practices for Publishers

  1. Video players should gracefully accommodate both aspect ratios (4:3 or 16:9) by adding color bands or adjusting the player size to fit.
  2. Publisher should disclose to advertisers when running multiple ads in a pod.
  3. Publishers should clearly outline integration requirements for developing creative.
  4. In order to deliver optimal user experiences, publishers should continuously manage and analyze the ratio of ads to content.
  5. When possible, simple interaction cues, such as a small graphic or animation, should be included to ensure users understand when and how to interact with the ads.

 






Non-Linear Video Ad Formats



Overlay Ad

online_video_advertising_in-stream_formats_video-overlay_ad.jpg



User Experience Description

Overlay ads run concurrently with content. Invitation unit ads are displayed on top of content while video is playing.

  • If user interacts with invitation, content is paused and full video ad is displayed in the video window.
  • If user does not engage with overlay it may disappear, collapse to a "leave-behind" companion ad or be persistent for entire content play.

Note that some overlay ads can be served over linear video ads as well.

 

Non-Linear Video Overlay Ad Format Guidelines

  • Insertion Point: During video play.


  • Maximum ad display duration: 5-15 seconds or persistent.


  • Click Event: Click or rollover on overlay expands to auto-initiated video, interactive
    ad, or takes user to advertiser's site.


  • Overlay Ad Sizes: Publishers should accept at least one of the following overlay ad sizes: 300x50, 450x50.

    It is important to note that this is a minimum consideration set and that other ad sizes may also be offered by a publisher in addition to at least one of the listed sizes.

    The overlay ad should not be more than 1/5 of the height of the player.

 

Non-Linear Video Overlay Ad Submission Recommendations

It is recommended, but not required for guideline compliance, that publishers adopt the following list of specifications in order to encourage standardized and more operationally efficient submission practices.

  • Video file technical specifications (if video is used for overlay ad):

    1. Bit rates: Greater than 2Mbps.
    2. Resolution (in pixels): 640x480 preferred; 400x300 minimum; these dimensions may be adapted to accommodate wide screen videos.
    3. Color depth: 32-bit.
    4. Key frames: every 1 second.
    5. Frame rate: At least 15 frames per second.
    6. Recommended codecs for video asset submission: MPEG2, WMV, H.264 / AAC.


  • Non-video file formats: Publishers should accept at least one of the following: jpeg, png, swf (Adobe Flash), and xap (Microsoft Silverlight).


  • Maximum file size: 100k.


  • Audio: No audio allowed in overlay invitation unit; once full ad expands or begins audio should be host-initiated.


  • Opacity: Text and image - 100% opaque; background - 70% maximum.


  • Animation: For animated overlay ad units, publishers may allow an extra 20 additional vertical pixels (beyond the 1/5 limit) that can be used sparingly by the advertisers to enhance the ad message, such as for drop shadows, flying sparks, etc.

 

Non-Linear Video Overlay Ad Best Practices for Publishers

  1. Publishers should include a persistent close button in the upper right corner of the overlay ad unit.
  2. Publisher should clearly use overlay labels to identify unit as "Advertisement" within frame or next to overlay unit.
  3. The ad is most commonly presented anchored to bottom of player, but may be anchored along the top or side of player at the publisher's discretion.

 



Non-Linear Non-Overlay Invitation Ad

online_video_advertising_in-stream_formats_non-overlay-invitation_ad.jpg



User Experience Description

Like the overlay, this unit presents an invitation to engage with the ad concurrently with the content experience.

However, rather than overlaying the content, the non-overlay ad's invitation resides outside the live video frame but within the video window.

This format is used when publishers do not wish to overlay the content.

 

Non-Linear Non-Overlay Invitation Ad Format Guidelines

  • Insertion Point: During video play; within player but not within video content frame.


  • Maximum ad display duration: At least one of the following two durations should be offered: 5-15 seconds or persistent.


  • Click Event: Click or rollover on overlay expands to auto-initiated video, interactive
    ad, or takes user to advertiser's site.


  • Non-Overlay Ad Sizes: Publishers should accept at least one of the following overlay ad sizes:

    • 300x50
    • 300x60
    • 234x60
    • 400x20

    It is important to note that this is a minimum consideration set and that other ad sizes may also be offered by a publisher in addition to one of the listed sizes.

 

Non-Linear Non-Overlay Invitation Ad Submission Recommendations

It is recommended, but not required for guideline compliance, that publishers adopt the following list of specifications in order to encourage standardized and more operationally efficient submission practices.

  • File formats: Publishers should accept at least one of the following: jpeg, png, swf (Adobe Flash), and xap (Microsoft Silverlight).

  • Maximum file size: 100k.
  • Audio: No audio allowed in overlay invitation unit; once full ad expands or
    begins audio should be host-initiated.

 

Linear Video Interactive Ad Best Practices for Publishers

  1. The invitation should be presented as anchored to either the bottom or top of player.
  2. Expandable rich media banners enabling users to rollover or click to view an expanded ad
    experience may be offered.

 






Companion Ads

online_video_advertising_in-stream_formats_companion_ad.jpg

The primary purpose of companion ads is to offer sustained visibility of the sponsor throughout the video experience.

Companion ads may offer click-through interactivity and rich media experiences, such as expansion of the ad for further engagement opportunities, and may include text, graphics or rich media and may be combined with any of the format standards listed above to create unique experiences for users and opportunities for advertisers.

Creative specifications for companion ads are not detailed in this document and should continue to be governed by each individual publisher.
If a publisher offers companion ads as part of a linear video ad product, at least one of the following companion ad sizes should be accepted:

  1. 300x250
  2. 300x100
  3. 468x60
  4. 728x90
  5. 300x60

This is a minimum consideration set. Publishers have significant inertia around the companion sizes they use on their sites today.

Publishers may continue to accept companion ads in other sizes, however, the minimum requirement is to accept one or more of the listed sizes for companions. The purpose of this minimum is to provide a core group of sizes so media buyers can rely on the portability of their creative.




Originally written by IAB Digital Video Committee for IAB and first published on May 1st 2008 as "Digital Video In-Stream Ad Format Guidelines and Best Practices".




About the author

iab_thumbnail.jpg

The Digital Video Committee of the IAB is comprised of 145 member companies actively engaged in the creation and execution of digital video advertising. One of the goals of the committee is to implement a comprehensive set of guidelines, measurement, and creative options for interactive video advertising.

IAB Digital Video Committee -
Reference: IAB [ Read more ]
 
 
 
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posted by Daniele Bazzano on Monday, April 27 2009, updated on Friday, February 26 2010


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