IAB Canada intros new video standards, updates others

Working on tech for tracking Flash ads, standardizing in-stream video buys, compiling an updatable database... the first half of 2008 has been busy for the Interactive Advertising Bureau of Canada.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) of Canada has announced revisions to the Canadian Universal Ad Package (CUAP) and new standards for in-stream video ads that cover duration, player aspect ratio, filesize, codec, container and Flash animation rate.

The one-pager also contains examples of the new recommended ad creative and ad tag naming conventions, as well as a list of formats that the IAB and its publisher members do not accept within the CUAP, such as pop-ups/pop-unders, ads with audio on (except in a video channel) and pre-expanded ads.

IAB Canada reports that it has liaised with IAB US in order to keep standards ‘as unified as possible’ across North America, but the Canadian organization is ‘leading in many areas’ with slight differences that take the country’s high-speed Internet environment into account – such as increased file size allowances for ‘polite’ ad content download (pre-loaded video that is ready to play when a consumer rolls over an expandable ad).

IAB Canada notes that it has focused on developing an in-stream pre-roll video ad standard for the more dominant pre-roll ad units, while overlay video ad units (a transparent layer on top of non-advertising video) and in-text video ad units (activated by clicking on or rolling over highlighted text within non-advertising, text-based content) ‘have not penetrated the Canadian market to any great extent.’

Another Canadian first is the new ad features by publisher database. The detailed Excel document will be updated quarterly. It is designed to assist agencies in keeping track of IAB member publisher capabilities, in terms of third party adserving, rich media, video, geo-targeting, behavioral targeting, ad sequencing, frequency capping, conversion tracking, etc.

IAB Canada is also promoting its new recommended creative and ad tag naming convention, designed to help publishers and agencies keep track of multiple versions of ad creative and ad tags, and the Universal Ad ClickTAG, which is designed to simplify the development and tracking of Flash ad creative.

The ClickTAG project was developed and managed by Ben Cormier, president of Netprophets.com and vice-chair of IAB Canada’s ad operations committee.

‘Advertisers and agencies don’t need to know all the technical problems in tracking Flash ads that are solved by IAB Canada’s new Universal ClickTAG standard,’ says Cormier. ‘All they really need to know is that, until now, the lack of a universal Flash ClickTAG standard has resulted in increased costs for their in-house or outsourced creative teams. Before today, they would have been forced to create, deliver and track multiple copies of the same Flash ad creative, for no good reason.’

The new CUAP, the ad features by publisher database and Universal Ad ClickTAG can be downloaded from the ‘standards’ section of the IAB Canada website.

IAB Canada released the Canadian Universal Ad Package (CUAP) in January 2005, laying out standards for leaderboards, skyscrapers and big-box ad units. In April 2006, IAB Canada released similar rules for standard, rich media expandable, floating and transition ads.