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Rich Media Guidelines

Rich Media Creative Guidelines


2008 Update

With the advent of new and improved advertising technologies, rich media has developed into a popular format for reaching and engaging consumers because the technologies allow the consumer to interact with the creative asset.  The IAB Ad Sizes Working Group has therefore updated the Rich Media Creative Guidelines, making them applicable to both “over-the-page” and “in-page” units that may have features such as peeling back, floating over the page, expanding or appearing between pages.

It is important to note that these guidelines are intended to provide the industry with a lowest common denominator for creative specifications. Compliance with these guidelines means that a publisher accepts these specs as a minimum and is entitled to keep specifications to these minimums, or exceed them, at their sole discretion. The guidelines are not meant to place a limit on what can be accepted, however, agencies and advertisers should work with their publisher partners to understand what each one is able to accept.

Rich Media is now defined as:  advertisements with which users can interact (as opposed to solely animation and excluding click-through functionality) in a web page format. These advertisements can be used either singularly or in combination with various technologies, including but not limited to sound, video, or Flash, and with programming languages such as Java, Javascript, and DHTML. These Guidelines cover standard Web applications including e-mail, static (e.g. html) and dynamic (e.g. asp) Web pages, and may appear in ad formats such as banners and buttons as well as transitionals and various over-the-page units such as floating ads, page take-overs, and tear-backs.  Rich Media also includes in-page and in-text digital video advertisements where the associated content is not streaming in a player environment.

In-Stream Video Ads” now refer to advertisements relating to video player environments, and creative guidelines for those units that appear in conjunction with streaming content, can be found here:ˍguidelines

PLEASE NOTE: Not all publishers carry all formats.

Other Guidelines

  • Creative format/type should be fully disclosed by the agency to the publisher.

Additional Considerations: CPU Usage
In contrast to file size, the complexity of drawings, gradients, slow moving animations and detailed moving elements can affect the number of calculations the CPU must make for each frame. Publishers may have, in addition to file weight guidelines, requirements for rich media advertisements that take CPU usage into account. The IAB Ad Sizes Working Group recommends a maximum of 18 frames per second.

Common High CPU Usage Factors:

  • Frame Rate is over 18 frames per second; reducing the number to 18 does not degrade visual performance.
  • Multiple animated sequences across many layers animating at the same time.
  • Animated sequences set to be translucent and animating on top of an imported graphic (ex: jpeg, png, etc.).
  • Action Script-generated events set to randomly generate (ex: fog and rain).
  • Imported graphics scaled up over a long period of time.

The Guidelines:

Format Category Format (WxH) Max Initial Load File Size * Add’l
File Weight (Polite Download)
Flash Specifics Audio Initiation Maximum Animation Length Controls Web Site Labeling
& Other Items
In-Page Video Units See IAB Ad Unit Guidelines, for example, 300x250

40 KB


18 fps

User Initiated (on click) Anything up to 15 seconds • Control = “Close X”, Play, Pause, Rewind, Volume
• Font = 16 pt
• Label = “Advertisement”
• Font = 16 pt
Retractable Units
User-initiated Expandable Ads: See IAB Ad Unit Guidelines.

Landing Spots: Maximum width of 2X the initial ad size*

40 KB

80 KB

18 fps

User Initiated (on click) Anything up to 15 seconds • Control = “Close X”
• Font = 16 pt
• Location = On Edge of Original (non-expanded/expanded) unit
• Feature = Enable Mouse-Off Retraction
• Label = “Advertisement”
Font = 16 pt
User-initiated Retractable Ads: Maximum width of 600 pixels.

Landing Spots: See IAB Ad Unit Guidelines
• 3 seconds,
if no user interaction
• Up to 15 seconds within ad
Pop-Up or Pop-Under Units Pop-ups: 250x250; 300x250

40 KB

80 KB

18 fps

User Initiated (on click) Anything up to 15 seconds Provided by Browser Window See IAB Pop-Up Guidelines for more details
Pop-up Large: 550x480
Pop-under: 720x300
Floating Units Variable 80 KB 160 KB 18 fps User Initiated (on click) Floating:
• 10 seconds max, if no user interaction

• Up to 15 seconds within ad
• Control = “Close X”
• Font = 16 pt
• Location = Fixed placement at the location of the first completely visible frame
• Label = “Advertisement”
• Font = 16 pt
Landing Spots for Floating Ads: See IAB Ad Unit Guidelines Not Applicable
Between-the-Page Units a.k.a., Transitional Ads: See IAB Ad Unit Guidelines 80 KB 160 KB 18 fps User Initiated (on click) Transitions:
• 10 seconds max, if no user interaction

• Up to 15 seconds within ad
• Control = “Skip Advertisement”
• Font = 16 pt
• Location = Above the Fold in Lower Right Corner of Ad
• Label = “Advertisement” or “Brought to you by”
• Font = 16 pt
• Location = Above the Fold and at Top of Ad

*300x250 ads only need to expand to 500x250
**If Video is part of any other rich media units, polite download file weight should adhere to In-Page Video Limit of 1.2 MB.


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