How to Navigate IAB Tech Lab’s New Video Specifications
The IAB Tech Lab sets global standards for video advertising, transforming the ad tech and advertising industries with its latest specifications.
When the standard was set in August 2022, instream and outstream became extremely black-and-white categories. The Tech Lab initially sought to create a clearer separation between the two leading categories and to better define what constituted as instream video. Starting in October, a proposal was brought to broaden the video advertising definitions and create more nuance amongst the categories.
The Tech Lab has updated video advertising guidelines to create more clarity and refinement. The change aims to address the issue of the dichotomy between instream and outstream, which was problematic for programmatic supply chain members. The updated definitions now include three “outstream” variations, ensuring that not all outstream should be treated the same. The updated guidelines aim to better serve the industry’s needs.
The dichotomy between instream and outstream set back in 2022 was problematic for members of the programmatic supply chain. The reality of the video environment is that not all outstream should be treated the same, but with the previous specifications, there was no variation between what constituted as outstream. Now, with the new definitions, there are three “outstream” variations.
What are the New Definitions?
Ads play before, during, or after streaming video content requested by the consumer. Instream video should be set to “sound on” by default or have clear user intent. The video content should be the primary content on the page and the only player in-view capable of audio. Ad calls should accurately convey the updated player size.
Ads play before, during, or after video content, loading and playing only when the video player enters the viewport. Accompanying content should start playback upon entering the viewport, and may convert to a floating/sticky player as the page scrolls.
Video ads that are played without video content. During playback, it must be the primary focus of the page and take up the majority of the viewport and cannot be scrolled out of view. This can be in placements like in-app video or slideshows.
Video ads that are played without streaming video content. This can be in placements like slideshows, native feeds, in-content or sticky/floating.
Why is This Important?
The IAB Tech Lab has updated its video definition specifications, promoting transparency and clearer paths for both buyers and sellers. The new specifications encourage sellers to invest in quality content, as users care about relevant, quality content. Publishers can now receive higher CPMs for video ads accompanied by real video content, compared to standalone ads. Buyers can now allocate their budgets to more clearly labeled inventory, adding a level of buying precision. The changes are a significant improvement to the industry standard, but they are constantly evolving and developing, just like the video industry. The changes are a step in the right direction towards clearer paths.
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