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The LEAN program has helped raise awareness of the importance and impact of consumer experience in the industry. Some of these have been well received and adopted widely: 

  • Encryption (HTTPS)
  • Allowing Choice (adChoices, Transparency & Consent Framework)
  • Non-invasive ads (Coalition for Better Ads)

However…Lightweight ads is one of the areas where we have not observed the required level of adoption and it is one of the most critical principles for better user experience. Several industry programs e.g. IAB UK Gold Standard reference LEAN.

Over time it has become clear that the complexity of developing an objective score and enforcing adherence to a seal, along with a lack of industry consensus on either approach, would limit the potential adoption and value of proceeding with these proposals.

In light of limited interest and progress towards formalizing and enforcing LEAN principles, we will stop work on the LEAN Scoring and LEAN Seal initiatives.

Does that mean the end of the road for LEAN as a program? Yes. But the principles laid out under LEAN remain applicable and are supported by multiple Tech Lab standards and other industry work. To implement LEAN principles, we recommend adoption of following standards:

  • The IAB New Ad Portfolio guidance for lightweight ads incorporates extensive testing to define criteria for ad creatives that allow both ads and pages to load quickly.
  • DigiTrust ID is for fast-loading content and services. The DigiTrust ID helps reduce the number of network calls thus making page load faster.
  • The Transparency & Consent Framework (TCF) ensures that users always have access to and control of their privacy by including adChoices options for online behavioral advertising and implementing TCF where applicable.
  • The Coalition for Better Ads (CBA) provides well-researched and proven guidance for non-invasive ads. This requires compliance with the Better Ads Standards for ad experiences and page ad density.
  • VAST 4.x is for better video delivery and rendering. VAST 4.x (Video Ad Serving Template) includes several features that improve user experience and measurement.
  • MRAID 3.0 is for better mobile in-app delivery and rendering. The new MRAID (Mobile Rich Media Ad Interface Definitions) version supports faster and better creative execution
  • Open Measurement SDK (OMSDK) reduces SDK bloat and enables all measurement providers to verify ad viewability and Invalid Traffic with one SDK Adopt.

IAB Tech Lab Contact

Shailley Singh
Vice President, Product