Responsive Web Design – Ad Standards or DIY

Responsive Web Design – Ad Standards or DIY

This week, the International Symposium for Online Journalism (ISOJ) discussed what Responsive Web Design means to online journalists. In a year that Mashable is calling the “Year of Responsive Web Design”, online journalists are asking, well…maybe even imploring with vehemence, the International Advertising Bureau (IAB) to change their fixed-sized advertisement standards to adapt to this flexible, liquid world of the scalable web. Many news agencies are adopting responsive web design, but because Internet ads are fixed sizes, they don’t play nice together. In case you didn’t know, banner ads are standardized and generally fall within banner ad unit guidelines set out by the IAB, and adopted by its approximately 500 media and technology companies that sell about 86% of online ads in the U.S.

Online journalism sites are so frustrated by the IAB’s slowness to change to the new responsive world of web design, some are using their own in-house designers to customize ads that fit their responsive websites.  There is a lesson here for advertisers. We’ll turn to DIY if you won’t DIFU (ask if you have to). Some may think this a costly solution but consider that three times the creative must be designed for fixed-sized ads to accommodate different screen sizes for each given ad slot purchased by an advertiser. This sounds a lot like web design in the late 90s.

I did some digging about solutions to the non-scaling advert vexation and read a very interesting article by a Brit – ahem – Welsh actually, web design guy Mark Boulton about what some folks are doing about ad slots in our  changing landscape (pun intended). The crux of the issue? Advertisers pay for ad slots based on size and position. So it’s not just that fixed ads don’t scale, it’s also that advertisers want them to be where they paid for them to be, and damned if they are on mobile.  What to do when there are so many different screen sizes and people go crazy with the mobileness of their phones and do weird things like hold them sideways? Ouch! Yo! Where’d that ad go? Anyway, I’ll let Maestro Boulton tell you about it. Interesting if you are interested in that sort of thing. I was., whose tagline on LinkedIn is “Advertising solutions and services for the multi-screen” is trying to build a business fulfilling this need by introducing StretchAds, responsive mobile ads with the benefit stated clearly: “Effectively Monetize Mobile like Desktop”. View responsive ad examples and a demo. offers a nice little freebie that will responsify your Google adsense ads.  

Google Announces Responsive Web Design Tool
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