By Aron Schatz
Since 2011, the Mobile Rich Media Ad Interface Definitions (MRAID) specification has provided in-app advertising the means to create compelling rich media ad experiences at scale. The promise of MRAID allowed ad designers to write a creative once, and have it run in any application on any platform that was MRAID capable. It was primarily focused on expandable ads. Since that time, MRAID has evolved to provide rich functionalities that allow ads to expand, resize, access native device features, handle device orientation, and support full-screen interstitial ads.
Today, IAB and IAB Tech Lab are releasing MRAID Version 3.0.
This new version was developed after an extensive public comment period that gathered over 50 comments from across the industry, and resulted in improving proposed features as well as adding new features. MRAID 3.0 remains backwards compatible to all versions of MRAID and is designed to focus on improving the user experience for consumers as well as ad designers. MRAID 3.0 provides compelling interfaces for the creative to understand where and how it fits in an application, and enables it with a much better way to deliver the brand’s creative experience to the user.
Some of the new MRAID 3.0 features are:
- Viewability support that now allows the creative to measure viewability as per industry standards and tailor its display for the best user experience
- Audibility measurement that allows the creative to understand the user’s context and use audio in ads in a non-disruptive manner
- The standardization of the close button for expanded ads and interstitials, removes ambiguity, and ensures that the user always has the option to exit an ad
- Ads can now inform the host ad container if they encounter an error, and initiate a graceful exit, preserving a clean user experience
- Ads can now access basic information about the environment like SDK, IFA, COPPA etc., which enables them to prepare the creative in advance of rendering
- Reduction in the ambiguity in implementation by providing stricter events implementation sequence to ensure the ad and the host container are in sync
- Guidance for pre-fetched ads, which ensures that an ad is presented to a user only when it is determined that it has its assets loaded and ready to display
- Location data, when allowed by the user and the app publisher, allows ads to seamlessly use the location data for personalization of creative messaging with MRAID version 3.0
- Video advertising being among the fastest growing formats, select VPAID events are now fully integrated as part of MRAID 3.0 to ensure uniform reporting and measurement of video creative
However, MRAID does not force providing the information if the application doesn’t want to share its users’ information. MRAID is about empowering publishers and consumers, as well as the advertisers. The MRAID standard is compatible with other industry standards such as the DAA Ad Marker Implementation Guidelines for Mobile. When you combine all of the above with the new MRAID compliance and certification process from the IAB Tech Lab, MRAID will truly become the “write once, run anywhere” standard.
The work doesn’t stop here. The MRAID committee will be working on a new set of MRAID 3.0 compliance ads to be used for certifying SDKs. Additionally, we will be creating a best practices guide to provide further guidance on how to implement features or clarification of the standard. There are certain items that don’t belong in the standard, but are important to provide, and the best practices guide will do just that.
As the advertising industry progresses forward, MRAID will be the bridge for in-app advertisement that allows the industry to focus on being creative instead of being bogged down supporting proprietary implementations. MRAID 3.0 is an enabling standard and the future looks bright for in-app advertising.
You can start using MRAID 3.0 right now. The standard is backward compatible with current MRAID 2.0 containers. Ad designers can plan out the transition to MRAID 3.0 style creatives right now. The standard allows for graceful degradation if the container is in a lower version. There is no chicken and egg problem. MRAID 3.0 is ready to go.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Aron Schatz, Senior Product Manager, Viral Gains