The decision means that advertisers will have to put up with the continued fragmentation of ad sizes and requirements in return for the ability to experiment in the still young medium.
“Any effort to promote simplification of ad formats must make it easier or cheaper to produce creative for the medium, without stifling creativity of those designing content or advertising for that medium,” according to an IAB report. “At this stage, the in-app ad landscape is too new and dynamic to be ready for creative standards.”
The IAB took its decision following a study that gathered feedback from app platforms and publishers. Standard display sizes are emerging. For example, the 300-by-50 pixel display ad is accepted at a majority of the 14 publishers surveyed. There are also many publishers offering wider ads that display better on iPhone screens.
However, other areas are more unsettled. Expandable formats vary; file weight limits differ wildly; new opportunities like the iPad increase the variables. The IAB found one publisher offering formats targeted to specific BlackBerry models.
The IAB traditionally has served as the Internet industry’s clearinghouse for standards and guidelines The mobile industry already has standards set by the Mobile Marketing Association (Its guidelines were modeled on what the IAB devised for Web display advertising.)
The two organizations are expected to work together for any official guidelines around formats in the future. For now, the IAB is encouraging basic best practices, including building mobile-specific landing pages for campaigns, keeping creative file sizes low, and building specifically for different devices.