Internet Group Issues New Standards for Online Ad Units

The Internet Advertising Bureau, an online advertising trade group, said yesterday that it issued voluntary guidelines for seven new ad units, including two verticals and five large rectangular units.

The new guidelines for the seven new Interactive Marketing Units join the New York-based group's roster of recommended guidelines for banner ads, which are already in place.

The new IMUs are already being used on Web sites run by CNET Networks Inc., including its site. The units offer more space for marketers to display their message and greater use of Flash animation and other interactive techniques.

The IAB last issued standards in 1996, when it approved the standard banner ad. The IAB is composed of member companies America Online, CNET Networks, DoubleClick Inc., [email protected], MSN, New York Times Digital, Phase2Media, Snowball, Terra Lycos, Walt Disney Internet Group and Yahoo.

“The innovations of the IMUs we are recommending offer the industry greater flexibility and expanded capabilities and choice for the creative community,” said Richy Glassberg, chairman of the IAB's Ad Unit Task Force and chairman/CEO of Phase2Media. “It should be carefully noted that these voluntary guidelines are additions to the existing banner guidelines that we have previously issued.”

The new IMUs include a “skyscraper” and “wide skyscraper,” four rectangle formats and a square pop-up format.

The IAB said the new IMUs were necessary because traditional banner ads, which initially offered response rates of 1-in-50 when they were introduced five years ago, now offer rates of only 1-in-200 and are considered a failure.

“We quite clearly recognize that these guidelines for new units, in some instances, will require publishers to undergo some degree of site redesign,” Glassberg said. “That's not a bad thing, in fact, it is a very positive sign for advertisers that publishers recognize and support their creative needs.”

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