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Protect your brand: why comply with the IAB Standards?

By Alice

April 29, 2024

The IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) Standards are a set of guidelines and best practices established to ensure consistency and quality in digital advertising. These standards cover many aspects of digital advertising, including ad formats and placements, ad measurement, and ad creatives. Following these standards helps ensure a better end user experience, and increased transparency, ensuring that you protect your brand reputation and that advertiser campaigns are effective at all times. AdSecure detected a 920.2% increase in IAB violations from Q4 of 2023 to Q1 of 2024 on average. Following the IAB Standards ensures that Networks create a compliant supply chain for an online business. In this article, we will answer the questions 'How do I protect my brand against IAB violations?', 'How to improve my website's performance following the IAB Standards?' and 'Why comply with the IAB Standards?'. We will also look into the percentage changes from 2023 to 2024 in the different IAB violations. 

Why comply with the IAB Standards

IAB violations: Ad Compression violations

Image compression is a process where the graphic file for Advertiser ads’ creatives are minimized in size without degrading image quality. There are a couple of reasons why this is important:

  1. Websites with bulky images can take longer to load and cause high bounce rates.
  2. To decrease the amount of data being transmitted
  3. To save storage speed
  4. To lower the impact on the end user's device.
  5. To send and upload images without the hassle.

From 2023 to 2024 AdSecure’s ad quality scans detected an increase of +435.1% in IAB Ad Compression Violation detections. This is a fairly steep increase! This means that a lot of Advertisers still don’t know the importance of properly compressing their ad creatives. Advertiser ads that have not been compressed properly will cause loading issues on websites, which could heavily impair the brand image and affect the Google rankings. Also, if the content doesn’t load properly, this could cause end users to bounce from the website and not return, affecting the traffic rates and resulting in revenue loss. 

Insight: 75% of an ad’s effectiveness is determined by its creative. To beat ad fatigue, Advertisers change creatives consistently, which is why sometimes they may forget to go through the full compression process. Advertisers tend to update their ad creatives every 4 weeks. But, why comply with the IAB Standards? Well, failure to do so will affect your revenue, reputation, and end user experience. Publishers and Ad Networks use AdSecure to ensure the ads on their Networks bring the highest quality content to the end user in seconds. You can then reject and request that the Advertiser correctly re-upload the creatives. This will help you create a compliant supply chain for an online business.

IAB violations: Ad Dimension violations

An IAB Ad Dimension Violation is when the ad dimensions are under or exceed the recommended pixel size. For Mobile Devices, a minimum of 64px is recommended and for images with just a logo or a simple design 128 px is recommended if the images have more information. For ads on a Desktop or Console a minimum of 256 pixels is recommended to give the end user the best experience. The IAB recommends ad dimensions should range between 100x200 - 150x300 so they can be shown best across all devices and browsers to the end user. 

There was a +2734% increase in Ad Dimension violations in 2023. This violation will give a bad image to the website where they are displayed, as well as reducing the likelihood of conversions for the Advertiser. 

Insight: When considering the question 'How to improve my website's performance following the IAB Standards?' it's important to remember as little as a 2-second delay in load time on a website results in abandonment rates of up to 87%. If your ad doesn’t load quickly your end user will not look at your ad but you will still be charged for the impression. Therefore to ensure you are getting the most out of your ad space, it is essential to invest in a service like AdSecure’s IAB Standards detection tool to ensure the ads are compliant before and during the launch as it will create a compliant supply chain for an online business. 

IAB violations: Ad Weight violations

Heavy Ads do not meet the IAB Standards and they violate Google’s terms, causing ads to be blocked or perform badly. The features of a heavy ad include:

  • Consuming more than 4MB of network bandwidth
  • Using CPU for 15 seconds or more within a 30 second window
  • Using CPU for 60 seconds or more in total

So, why comply with the IAB Standards for ad weight? Google ranks websites with a heavy ad weight lower as, regardless of intent, they harm the end user’s browsing experience by draining their device's battery and consuming more mobile data. The IAB recommends an ad size with an initial load of a maximum of 50KB and a sub-load of a maximum of 100 KB. There was a +332% increase in Ad weight violations by Q1 of 2024.

Insight: 77% of people in the US stated they dislike brands using disruptive, non-targeted advertising methods. If you have a heavy ad on your website the end user will need to use more mobile data to access your content, leaving them with a bad impression of your brand resulting in a loss of brand loyalty. To align with Google's Heavy Ad Intervention and reinforce AdSecure's IAB Standards widget and related detections, AdSecure’s IAB Standards detection tool includes a Heavy Ad detector. Any ads scanned by AdSecure that violate Google's heavy ad policy will be detected and reported to you. This will help you create a compliant supply chain for an online business.

IAB violations: Ad Request Count violations

The Ad Request Count standard in online advertising refers to the number of times an ad is requested to be displayed on a webpage or app. This metric can help you track the volume of ad placements and measure the effectiveness of their advertising campaigns. The IAB recommends a maximum of 10 Ad requests as the number of requests made to deliver the ad significantly impacts its load performance and the page where it is displayed. There was a +180% increase in the number of ad request violations by the end of Q4 in 2023.

Ad campaigns aligned to the IAB Standards lead to higher levels of user engagement and overall conversion, this is why you should comply with the IAB Standards as these standards play a key role in maximizing revenue for each campaign. 

Insight: Google has added web content performance into its SEO ranking algorithm, and monitoring for low-performing ad content. This is because the end user experience can be greatly affected by the repetition on your website. End users may also feel bombarded and decide to leave your website for a competitor with more ad variation. This is important to consider when asking 'How do I protect my brand against IAB violations?' because it may have an impact on your brand image as the end user may see the repetition as annoying. AdSecure’s IAB Standards detection tool can help Publishers ensure they avoid SEO penalties with the ad request count scan. This will let you know how often the ad has been requested, helping you to resolve the issue.

How do I protect my brand against IAB violations?

Publishers and Ad Networks often wonder 'How do I protect my brand against IAB violations?', one way to do this is by avoiding ‘sensitive topics’ as determined by the IAB and blocking associated keywords. The IAB Standards are put in place to promote a safe and sustainable online industry and make sure that all parties, from brands to end users, are protected from ad fraud, bad actors, and inappropriate or unsafe content online. Industry standards and benchmarks, such as the IAB, Coalition for Better Ads, and the TAG, provide guidelines for online businesses to follow to maintain brand safety. It is important if you are an Ad Network that you use a service like AdSecure as it will help you protect your brand against IAB violations. If you do not consider the IAB Standards and scan your ads for potential violations you will be at risk of your Network and site being affected and losing its authority or in extreme cases, it may be removed or blocked by Google.

Conclusion: Why comply with the IAB Standards?

It is the responsibility of Ad Networks to inform their Advertisers and Publishers when IAB guidelines have not been followed and to identify violations in ad quality and size violations etc. In this article, we have covered the questions 'How do I protect my brand against IAB violations?', 'How to improve my website's performance following the IAB Standards?' and 'Why comply with the IAB Standards?'. The best way to create a compliant supply chain for an online business, and comply with the IAB Standards is by using AdSecure’s IAB Standards detection tool. It is used by Publishers and Ad Networks to identify campaigns that are not aligned and helps campaign issues before they cause problems for Publishers. It also works as a way for Ad Networks to contact Advertisers to inform them to resubmit creatives that meet the industry standards and help them maximize their campaign revenues. If you would like to protect your brand, improve the end user experience, and save time on the campaign process try AdSecure for free today and see how it can help you get the most out of your Ad Network.

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