July 18, 2013

IAB Issues Guidelines for Optimizing HTML5-Based Advertising

The interactive ecosystem has increasingly been turning to the HTML5 ad code as a seamless solution to help traverse the complexities in scaling across various digital screens. To support the intensified use of HTML5, the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s (IAB) Ad Operations Council and Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence published the final version of a set of best practices for optimizing HTML5 use.

“With cross-screen campaigns becoming the norm, it is critical that we craft a uniform framework for HTML5 ad optimization,” said Steve Sullivan, vice president of ad technology at IAB. “HTML5 technology is being rapidly adopted in the marketplace, but the code comes with its own set of issues and impediments that need to be confronted. This guidance helps break through those barriers, promoting a level of performance and functionality that not only improves the HTML5 experience for marketers, creative designers, publishers, and other industry stakeholders, but elevates the experience for consumers as well.”

The “HTML5 for Digital Advertising 1.0: Guidance for Ad Designers & Creative Technologists” report, which addresses inherent challenges in leveraging the ad code, while providing a series of time and cost-saving recommendations for HTML5 display ad units, file and ad unit size, code and asset compression, in-banner video advertising and animation, efficient ad creative packaging and ad server compatibility communication recommendations.

When it was released for public comment in early May, the guidelines received significant feedback in regard to file size limits, with members raising concerns that the proposed limit would restrict HTML5’s key benefits, such as responsive design and accessibility of external files like JavaScript libraries through content delivery networks. As a result, IAB removed file size guidance and simply recommends that creative developers and technologists consult with their publisher and vendor partners on acceptable limits.

“Input from the interactive advertising ecosystem is vital in developing the IAB’s various industry guidelines, best practices, standards and more,” said Anna Bager, vice president and general manager for the Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence at IAB. “The amount of feedback we received on this particular document underscores the industry’s ongoing demand for seamless cross-screen advertising. Needless to say, we expect that this HTML5 guidance will fuel the multiscreen movement.”

The report is available for download, and an HTML5 wiki for designers and developers has also been established to compliment the guidance, and is located at

Edited by Rachel Ramsey


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