Recently, the IAB Tech Lab introduced its new Video Ad Guidelines, bringing significant changes to instream and outstream formats, as well as introducing four new categories for digital video ads. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at these changes and understand how they impact the advertising ecosystem.

The IAB Tech Lab’s Video Ad Guidelines have made a few noteworthy revisions to instream and outstream video ads, aiming to enhance user experience and ensure transparency. Let’s dive into the specific changes for each format.

Instream video ads

  1. Ad duration and frequency: the new guidelines emphasize the importance of striking a balance between user experience and advertiser objectives by recommending shorter ad durations and limiting ad frequency. This helps prevent ad overload and excessive interruptions during video playback.
  2. Ad skipping limitations: to offer a fair balance between user choice and advertising needs, the guidelines provide recommendations on ad-skipping. Advertisers should set clear limits on the number of ad skips and ensure that users have the opportunity to engage with the advertising content while respecting their preferences.
  3. Viewability and verification: the guidelines set stronger requirements for ad viewability and verification. Advertisers are encouraged to adopt industry-standard measurement metrics to ensure accurate reporting and provide consistent transparency for all stakeholders.

Outstream video ads

  1. Contextual relevance and placement: the guidelines highlight the importance of appropriate ad placement and contextual relevance. Advertisers are encouraged to align their outstream ads with surrounding content to enhance user engagement while reducing ad fatigue. 
  2. User-initiated sound and control: outstream ads typically play without sound until the user initiates sound playback. The guidelines reinforce this approach, allowing users to have control over the audio experience while enabling advertisers to effectively convey their messages when sound is engaged. 
  3. Autoplay and viewability: The revised guidelines address autoplay concerns and recommend implementing viewability thresholds to ensure ads are only displayed when viewable. This ensures ads are seen by users in a manner that maintains ad effectiveness while providing a positive user experience. 

Introducing Four New Categories of Digital Video Ads 

The IAB Tech Lab’s Video Ad Guidelines also introduced four new categories of classification for digital video ads, designed to provide clarity and standardization in the industry. Advertisers also want to know what kind of ad they’re serving – whether it’s a pre-roll ad on a video the user wants to watch, an outstream ad in a news article, or something in-between.  Let’s take a look at the new additions:

  1. Linear Video Ads: This category includes traditional video ad formats that play before, during, or after video content. Linear video ads follow a predetermined sequence and are typically non-interactive. 
  2. Non-Linear Video Ads: Non-linear video ads are overlays or display-like ads that appear during video playback but don’t disrupt the user experience significantly. These ads may be interactive, allowing users to engage with the content, and can be clicked or closed. 
  3. Companion Ads: Companion ads appear alongside video content and provide supplementary information or additional brand messaging. These ads come in various formats, like banners, texts, or static images, and aim to enhance brand awareness and reinforce the main message conveyed in the video ad. 
  4. In-Banner Video Ads: In-banner video ads are video ads that play within a standard display banner. Despite their smaller size, in-banner video ads offer the advantage of using video content within limited space, capturing users’ attention directly within the banner itself. 

The introduction of these new Video Ad Guidelines marks a shift in the digital advertising landscape, impacting both advertisers and publishers. Adhering to these changes allows advertisers to create engaging ad experiences while considering user experience, while publishers can ensure transparency and consistency in delivering high-quality content. These guidelines foster a healthier advertising ecosystem, and embracing them creates new opportunities for authentic connection, ultimately driving improved campaign results.