IAB Issues Guidelines for Over-the-Page, Pop-Up Ads

NEW YORK The Interactive Advertising Bureau yesterday proposed guidelines for over-the-page rich media ad units that center around user control.

The specifications are designed to improve the efficiency and ease of planning, buying and creating online media, as well as enhance the user experience without constraining creative opportunities for marketers.

One of the guidelines states that audio must be user-initiated with the exception of ads run in a context where the user has already accepted sound. Another says that all ads must offer a “close box” or “skip-ad” button.

As for length, the IAB suggests a 15-second cap for within-the-page and over-the-page units and a 30-second cap for between-pages and in-stream ads.

The IAB is asking for feedback over the next two months on the proposed guidelines, which were developed after reviewing user-acceptance and ad-effectiveness research, polling marketers and more than 23 agencies to ascertain their needs and determining publisher and technology vendor requirements.

The New York-based organization’s decision to update the guidelines came as a result of innovations in and the growth rate of rich media. Usage of rich media grew from 3 percent in 2002 to 8 percent in 2003, representing 10 percent of all ad formats use in the fourth quarter, according to a recent IAB and PricewaterhouseCoopers report.

The IAB is also seeking feedback on voluntary guidelines for pop-up and pop-under ads, issued last week. One of the recommendations: limit these ads to one per site visit, as research has shown frequency to be a key issue for consumers. Another states that pop-ups and pop-under should be clearly labeled with the name of the network, advertiser, publisher, and browser type.