IAB Members OK Ad-Size Package

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) announced on Tuesday the finalization of its suite of standard ad units, called the Universal Ad Package (UAP).

The package, proposed last December by the IAB, was endorsed by 23 members, including heavyweights like New York Times Digital, CBS MarketWatch, MSN and Yahoo!. The members agreed to implement the four ad sizes in 12 to 18 months, with 16 already compliant.

The IAB package of standard units was approved unchanged: a 160 x 600 pixel “wide skyscraper,” a 300 x 250 “medium rectangle,” an 180 x 150 “rectangle,” and a 728 x 90 “leader board.”

The much-maligned 468 x 60 banner was conspicuously missing from the list the IAB proposed, in a move IAB chief Greg Stuart was designed to move beyond the stigma the banner had taken on during the Internet advertising industry’s downturn.

While the majority of sites are already UAP compliant, some sites will need to tweak their sites to accommodate all four sizes. The laggard sites include some of the industry’s leading publishers, like MSN, New York Times Digital, and CBS MarketWatch.

The full list of sites that have agreed to implement the package is available at the IAB’s Web site. Compliant sites will also post a “UAP Compliant” seal.

“This is a change for publishers, both large and small,” said Adam Gelles, the IAB’s director of industry initiatives. “I don’t think it’s a long time in the context of what’s happening in the industry.”

The industry hopes the standard ad sizes will resolve a common complaint of advertisers: ads designed to run on one site won’t run on another.

“Every medium has a standard ad unit,” Gelles pointed out, such as the 30-second TV commercial. “The whole goal is to make online as easy to develop as TV or print.”

The American Association of Advertising Agencies has thrown its support behind the UAP, saying it will give agencies flexibility in creating online campaigns.

The IAB recently wrapped up a two-week, seven-city road show promoting its cross-media optimization studies. The trade group has gained new clout in the past year, doubling its staff and broadening its industry advocacy.

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