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What the IAB’s Mobile App Standards Tell Us About the Evolution of Advertising

The IAB’s Tech Lab recently announced updated specifications for its mobile advertising “MRAID” standard. This mobile-specific protocol was originally launched in 2011 to allow the same mobile ad creative and features to be used across multiple app publishers and ad networks. The newly released MRAID 3.0 builds upon these features, offering new tools to measure viewability and enabling new ways to track mobile ad features like audibility and user location. But beyond making things easier for developers and creatives, the evolution of MRAID reflects the growth and maturation of digital (and mobile) advertising. How has MRAID transformed mobile ads, and what does its continued evolution tell us about the future of digital advertising? Here are three takeaways.

Standardization and scalability are critical for digital campaigns
The standardization instituted by IAB’s MRAID specifications is more important than ever before. MRAID launched in 2011 to help standardize the mobile app ecosystem, and each new evolution has helped extend this standardization with new features. This focus on scalability takes a page from the TV playbook, where unified ad formats like the 30-second spot, and unified metrics like GRPs, have long been the gold standard. This continued push for standardized creative and metrics in the mobile sector is making it possible for publishers and advertisers to scale, which is key to earning more of the media dollars once reserved only for TV campaigns.

Measurement is a key strength of the digital sector
Measurement will need to be a key focus for the mobile ad sector as it looks to gain more ad dollars and greater creative recognition. Another important benefit of IAB’s MRAID 3.0 is that it enables a range of more sophisticated measurement options for brands and agencies. These new features make it possible for mobile app advertisers to track statistics such as viewability, ad load times and whether the audio played by an ad was loud enough to be heard by the consumer (audibility).

Great creative is more important than ever
Closely tied with the point above about measurement, is a growing ability by mobile advertisers to use their insights to design great creative campaigns. Brilliant creative has always been a hallmark of the TV sector, and more and more it’s becoming a focus for the digital and mobile sectors as well. Consider that the new IAB rules will let advertisers access consumers’ location data, which will enable more sophisticated personalization of mobile ad creative. Other metrics like the ability to tell if a mobile ad’s audio was playing could also be a boon for creatives, who could use such information to tweak campaigns if consumers are watching in silent mode.

TV and video are great partners for advertisers. Thanks to the continued evolution of formats like mobile in-app ads, digital advertisers have access to a growing arsenal of creative options, new measurement tools and more opportunities to scale campaigns across multiple publishers. The new rules serve to make the entire ad industry better and more dynamic as a result.