The Future of Ad Formats Remains Fuzzy

A few days ago I posted a blog about the Mobile Marketing Association’s announcement of new guidelines for mobile ads. The first substantial hitch, however, to a “universal application” of those guidelines was observed almost as soon as they were announced. The four proposed banner ad formats outlined differed in size from Google’s mobile image ads, which were publicly revealed almost in conjunction with the MMA guidelines.

Amidst growing concern that the emerging mobile channel will be impaired by the apparent lack of standard ad formats, a number of industry insiders have begun weighing in on the debate.

“Guidelines are just that, they’re not rules,” said Bob Walczak, CEO of Ringleader Digital, a mobile ad-serving and publisher network. “That’s probably been the biggest misnomer about ad standards, people see them as rules.”

Currently, the guidelines suggested by the MMA offer four banner sizes: 300 x 50 pixels; 216 x 36 pixels; 168 x 28 pixels; and 120 x 20 pixels. At the moment, Google’s banner sizes noticeably differ: 305 x 64 pixels; 215 x 34 pixels; 192 x 34 pixels; and 167 x 30 pixels.

According to a press release from Google, the company stated: “Google image ads were compliant with MMA’s previous recommendations for ad size. We think standards are one part of creating the best user experience, and Google will continue working with the MMA to ensure compliance with these and future guidelines.”

Whether chaos will ensure or cohesion be established is anyone’s guess at the moment. Stay tuned.