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IAB Digital Video In-Stream Ad Format Guidelines

Executive Summary

The digital video marketplace includes platforms that extend to mobile, television, and an array of other technologies and devices. The specifications outlined below have been updated to support cross-screen ad execution, and provisions have been made for varied quality files that improve “intelligent” selection in vendor-served ads (3rd party) and server-side ad stitching practices. Supporting the need for high-quality video files has also been a key focus in this update.

Download the Digital Video In-Stream Ad Format Guidelines (PDF)

In order to simplify the digital video advertising buying and selling process, the Digital Video Committee of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) has developed these guidelines and best practices for the most common current in-stream ad formats, including:

  • Linear video ads
  • Non-linear video ads
  • Companion ads

These recommendations have been constructed for these ad formats in order to meet the following marketplace needs:

  • More efficient operations through a common set of creative submission guidelines
  • More efficient development of ads and players through minimum common creative guidelines, including click functionality and duration definitions
  • Easier digital video ad buying across multiple sites through minimum common ad sizes for overlay and companion ads
  • Better consumer understanding of ad interactions and environments through best practice recommendations for creative development and player environments

There are three types of recommendations contained in this document for each ad format:

  • Ad Format guidelines
  • Common creative submission recommendations
  • Additional best practices

Publishers will be able to self-attest to the IAB for a compliance seal by adhering to these Ad Format Guidelines.  All other recommendations in this document should be considered best practices and should strongly be considered for adoption, but are not necessary for compliance.

It is also important to note that this document has certain scope boundaries:

  • This document supersedes the 2005 Broadband Ad Creative Guidelines; the original 2005 document is now obsolete
  • Measurement of impressions or other metrics is not addressed in this document
  • Although many of these formats can apply to full-screen and live experiences, this document does not specifically address those environments because of the high level of customization between publishers. We encourage, where possible, that these guidelines be used in those situations.

While this document’s purpose is to develop more standardization in the most common areas of the digital video landscape, the IAB continues to encourage creativity and innovation in video ad formats.  As with all IAB guidelines, this document will be updated as the dynamic digital video advertising landscape progresses and new ad formats become more widely adopted.

Supporting Resources

Developed by the Digital Video Ad Format Guidelines Working Group

IAB Tech Lab Contact

Katie Stroud
Senior Product Manager