IAB’s Rising Stars Ad Units Slow to Take Off

By June 20, 2014Uncategorized


Every Media Buyer wants simplicity, affordability and success when purchasing advertising.  For online display media, the universal ad package (728×90, 300×250, 160×600, 180×150) was developed to make buying and creating online ads seamless across all websites.  Since 2011, the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s (IAB) has been making ripples with their Rising Stars ad units and is receiving even more buzz lately.  As inventory slowly increases, Media Buyers are able to test more and see results.

A few things to consider before deploying Rising Stars:

Simplicity – The universal ad package helped standardize ad units across websites for the ease of buying and selling.  The IAB has now compiled their Rising Stars ad units to keep up with new developments in the online space.  Although with the new Rising Stars ad units, publishers have to convert their website design to include them.  Not an easy or quick task and something they don’t want to invest in until the demand is there.  Media Buyers are hesitant to create that demand without seeing proof it works.  Thus, we have a standoff.  Some websites have adopted a couple of the Rising Stars ad units, while all run the universal ad package sizes.  If not all websites purchased on a media buy offer the same Rising Stars ad units, you will need to have additional ad sizes created and simplicity is taken away.

Affordability – With the Rising Stars ad units come premium prices.  With a low budget, you typically want the most eyeballs for your dollar, so you’ll lean toward the lower priced ad units, which are usually the universal ad package sizes.  If not all websites purchased host Rising Stars, you’ll have to spend more to create the standard sizes, along with the new sizes.  In some cases, there is also very low availability (if any) on a Demand Side Platform, which has increasingly been the way Media Buyers prefer to buy online.  DSP’s generally offer the most exposure at the lowest price helping build frequency.

Success – Studies have shown Rising Stars receive more interaction, which is mostly defined by clicks.  Keep in mind clicks usually come from younger and older viewers, not necessarily your target audience or product purchasers.  Also, are these new ad units receiving higher interaction rates because they are new and different?  Possibly.  When the standard ad sizes first came on the scene, we saw higher click through rates than where the average is now.  Currently, CTR’s are lower on standard sizes, but we know we’re making an impact by watching other metrics…conversion rate, traffic to or on a client’s website, email open rates, etc.  It will be interesting to see if the Rising Stars’ CTR’s decline over the next five years.

The Rising Stars are definitely shiny objects, nice big ad units that really get in front of the viewer.  However, more publishers need to redesign their sites to include some, or all, Rising Stars to create more inventory.  That additional inventory will help bring the rates down from their premium status enabling more Media Buyers to purchase these new ad units.  For now, it’s a great test space, possibly taking one or two Rising Stars and incorporating them into your mix, if budget allows.

Some Examples:


Billboard 970×250


Pushdown 970×90


Pushdown 970×415

The Billboard and the Pushdown would be our choices for testing.

Related Posts:
Display Ads: Specifications & Best Practices
Display Advertising Measured in GRP’s? Two Major Google Announcements
Display Advertising Q&A With A Digital Media Expert – Part I

Kora Minton

Author Kora Minton

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