Without standards there is no hope of personalized digital advertising achieving scale

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) this week introduced the industry’s first standard for dynamic digital advertising.

The IAB Dynamic Content Ad Standard provides a detailed schema for how constituents across the digital ad supply chain should define an ad’s creative components and asset variations, which are needed to build and serve real-time dynamic content.

Such standards are important because they remove communication barriers between layers of software. In this case, the standards will make it easier for creative-authoring tools, data-driven personalization platforms, ad servers, demand-side platforms, content management systems and measurement tools to cooperate and deliver and measure creative that is uniquely targeted to individuals.

Without standards like this, there is no hope of personalized digital advertising achieving any kind of scale across any part of the digital ad ecosystem.

Hello, Metadata

The standard will drive an explosion in the use of metadata for ad creation and delivery. 

In the grand scheme of personalized digital advertising and marketing, metadata is the unsung hero, the secret sauce. Metadata is how you automate and scale data-driven inputs and outputs, and ad tech has used precious little of it until now.

Most of the standards the industry depends upon today are actually more like design specifications – good, solid, detailed specs that have played a formative role in the industry at large, but specs nonetheless. This standard is different. It’s a schema, which means it can be copied, extended, verified and automated. It essentially commits the industry to make metadata a fundamental building block for its supply chain.

Goodbye, Garden Walls

The standards will pry open the doors of walled gardens, making social media and omnichannel marketing an imminent reality.

Google, Facebook and Verizon are having all the fun right now, as millennials in particular spend an enormous amount of time on their mobile devices within these walled gardens. We can talk all we want about the potential of digital advertising to reach digital natives, but until ads can be personalized, served and optimized within and outside these gardens simultaneously, the touting of engagement metrics will be largely bluster.

The IAB’s new standard gets us on our way toward breaking down the barriers to both in-app and mobile content delivery. We now have a way to translate from one proprietary platform to another using an open standard. We may now see the equivalent of “creative exchanges,” which, much like media exchanges, act as translators between proprietary ad formats.

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