IAB native advertising playbook establishes rules

February 16, 2015

Provides guidance for publishers, agencies and marketers on
leveraging native
advertising in campaigns


Native has become a hot topic in the advertising marketplace, but for the practice to flourish further, it needs consensus on definitions and structure. In response, the Interactive Advertising Bureau and its Native Advertising Task Force has released the “IAB Native Advertising Playbook” to serve as a consistent framework for the discussion surrounding native advertising, identifying it as both an aspiration to seamlessly integrate brand messaging into consumers’ content experiences, as well as a practical suite of ad products that successfully meet that objective. In addition to the task force, senior-level, buy-side executives were tapped for their expert counsel on what advertisers need to consider before they add native elements into their digital marketing mix. The IAB Public Policy Council was also consulted for the playbook’s recommendations on sponsorship disclosures.

The playbook highlights six core interactive ad formats that are currently being used within the native advertising landscape:

• In-feed units.

• Paid search units.

• Recommendation widgets.

• Promoted listings.

• IAB standard ads with “native” element units.

• Custom.

“Marketers are already embracing native strategies and publishers are looking for a roadmap that will allow them to take full advantage of the trend,” said Peter Minnium, head of Brand Initiatives, IAB. “The more we can define and structure the framework surrounding native advertising, the easier we will make it for brands to easily incorporate it into their ad buys.”

“There is a renaissance underway in digital advertising that is driving brands, publishers and consumers to communicate with each other in more personal and natural ways,” said Patrick Albano, vice president, social, mobile and innovation sales, Yahoo, and co-chair, IAB Native Advertising Task Force. “Native advertising is an important piece of this evolution. The IAB Native Advertising Task Force set out to provide guidance based on the state of the industry today while at the same time leaving room for flexibility to inspire innovation and growth.”

As it relates to disclosure, the playbook provides overarching principles which ensure, regardless of context, that a consumer will be able to distinguish between what is paid advertising versus what is publisher editorial content. In addition, the paper identifies current model implementations for each ad unit, with the most commonly used native ad disclosure language, placement of that language, and any other cues to the consumer.

“I firmly believe that advertising on the modern Internet will be defined by meaningful content, not standard ads. There’s a movement happening, away from interruptive, traditional ads, and towards thoughtful brand stories—and native ads are the most potent and effective distribution strategy for content-based advertising,” said Dan Greenberg, founder and chief executive officer, Sharethrough, and co-chair, IAB Native Advertising Task Force. “The IAB framework is the first step in standardizing a set of new native ad formats and represents a milestone for the movement. For advertisers, native, content-based advertising is the translation layer between the modern Internet and traditional TV.”

Moving forward, the IAB planed a series of Native Advertising Workshops that started in March 2014, which will take a deeper dive into areas such as measurement, ethics and disclosure, and consumer attitudes and behavior.

The complete “IAB Native Advertising Playbook” is available for download at iab.net/nativeplaybook.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau is comprised of more than 500 leading media and technology companies that are responsible for selling 86 percent of online advertising in the U.S.

On behalf of its members, the IAB is dedicated to the growth of the interactive advertising marketplace, of interactive’s share of total marketing spend, and of its members’ share of total marketing spend. The IAB educates marketers, agencies, media companies and the wider business community about the value of interactive advertising. Working with its member companies, the IAB evaluates and recommends standards and practices and fields critical research on interactive advertising.

This article originally appeared on the IAB website. Reprinted with permission.

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