IAB adds digital details to LEAN ads program

Industry invited to weigh in on new guidelines for VR, emoji marketing

Nearly a year after announcing the LEAN ads program, the IAB has unveiled specific digital advertising standards in its new ad standards portfolio.

The original LEAN standards (LEAN is an acronym that stands for light, encrypted, ad choice supported, non-invasive ads) are being updated to address emerging technologies. The update offers guidelines for marketing with a variety of emerging formats and tools — everything from augmented and virtual reality to emojis and vertical video.

As part of this update, the IAB is seeking consultation with digital marketers around the world before the official guidelines are released.

The IAB announced its LEAN ads initiative in October 2015, describing it as an answer to the millions of internet users avoiding digital ads by employing ad blockers.

This week’s new guidelines are “the long awaited detail behind the proposed LEAN principals,” said Sonia Carreno, the president of IAB Canada, speaking from the IAB’s annual Mixx Conference in New York. “I think it’s really nice for [the IAB’s] Tech Lab to be able to reach out globally and say here’s what we’re proposing, it’s on the table, and we’ve got a month window to collect feedback and really take that into consideration, and together determine the way forward.”

“You can no longer fit everything neatly into one ad spec guideline,” said Carreno. “It is now a much broader conversation about what is acceptable and what should be acceptable to protect the very concept of ad supported business models in the digital world.”

The Canadian advertising industry was introduced to the new ad standard portfolio on Monday morning by way of an email, which was sent to the IAB Canada publisher council, agency council, advertising council, ad tech council, programmatic committee and ad ops committee.

With the help of the global advertising industry’s feedback, Carreno and the IAB hope to build guidelines that provide enough leeway for marketers to continue delivering a quality ad experience while addressing all of the concerns brought forward by the ad blocking community.

“The industry is winning that argument because, long-term, if we do figure out how to create better experiences — which historically the advertising industry as a whole, not just digital, have figured out — I think we’re going to be in an okay position,” said Carreno. “We’ve secured the future.”

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