Corporate Eye

The Battle for Mobile Advertising Standards

iphone mobile adsThere is no doubt that mobile advertising is a critical component of a brand’s integrated marketing plan, but developing mobile ads isn’t easy. With the proliferation of devices and multiple operating systems, mobile ads that look great to one consumer might look terrible to the next. As a result, mobile ad unit inventory is a jumbled mix that keeps growing, mobile ad CPM rates are very low, and mobile marketers aren’t happy.

Making matters worse is the inability to collect effective metrics for tracking the effectiveness of mobile ads. If an ad looks different from one device to another, performance data isn’t reliable because results will be skewed.

These are problems that the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) and the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) are trying to change with new mobile ad standards. Together, the groups released the “Mobile Phone Creative Guidelines” for public comment today, which would supplement the Universal Mobile Ad Package and make it easier and more effective to buy and sell mobile ads.

The new Mobile Phone Creative Guidelines address multiple devices, mobile web and in-app ads, and specifications for both basic and rich media mobile ad units. The Mobile Phone Creative Guidelines include information related to:

  • The creative unit name
  • The maximum allowable expanded dimensions
  • The maximum allowable initial file load size
  • The maximum allowable animation length
  • The maximum allowable video length
  • The maximum percentage of CPU use
  • The minimum required controls
  • The labeling requirements, font sizes, etc.
  • The required submission lead time
  • The best practices for implementation
  • The supported creative types

You can download the complete Mobile Phone Creative Guidelines in Excel format. If you’d like to submit feedback on the guidelines, you can email your comments to This is your chance to weigh in on mobile ad standards that could affect your brand for years to come, so be sure to speak up if you have input. Both mobile advertisers and publishers who display ads should review the guidelines and provide comments, so the final guidelines are the best that they can be.

Image: Matthew Pearce

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.