Friday, August 21, 2009

Hey IAB – forget about new recruits, look after the ones you have

The IAB ploughs on with its education programme, espousing the virtues of online to the die-hard traditionalists who haven’t still haven’t ventured onto the interweb. Whilst a noble (& one wonders how fruitful?) pursuit, it does mean that certain boring, but necessary housekeeping matters are being left to grow wild in its backyard:

1/ Standardisation. Whist we are at a point (nearly) where formats are standard across most sites, creative specs still vary wildly between publishers. Key to increasing spends is decreasing production costs. Often the media / production ratio for online is totally out of whack, too heavy on the production side as a result of having to build multiple versions of the same format to answer multiple creative specs. In some cases, specs within the sites themselves aren’t even consistent. One large portal requires both left & right expansions for a rectangle, as it may appear on both sides of the site. When multiple versions of a creative are required for a single site, let alone a whole plan, you know something is awry...

2/ File weights. I know we aren’t at the forefront of broadband speeds here, unlike Korea where you can download a movie in seconds, but is a 35kb limit on flash really necessary? Small file sizes are limiting creatively & force standard ads to be rich-media adserved to account for the weight. Sure page loading is important – so why not implement iframes, allowing the content to load, with the ad loading in last. Don’t think you would find users complaining about that!

3/ Research. Who can we rely on if not our industry body to provide us with the research to back up our planning decisions. Looking at the wealth of research on IAB UK & IAB US sites, much of it available to members only, makes one wonder why the IAB can’t perform the same service here. After client’s want case studies, planners want proof – you want Brands to spend more online? Give them relevant NZ research, showing how successful other brands have been. Without a prohibitively expensive brand study, we are at a loss to prove the positive effect online advertising has on brand measures – a generic NZ based study, across the industry would do much to help our case.

So whilst fancy breakfasts & Thurs night drinks are warm & fuzzy, we need a focus on less glamorous, but perhaps more important issues.

The industry needs more structure, not more knees up’s (as nice as they are).

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