At Zemanta we’re excited that today the IAB has released the updated standard for trafficking native ads. We are proud to have helped refine The Dynamic Native Ads API 1.1 along with numerous other industry players.

“The new standard brings order into the chaos of ad formats and form factors that have limited scale for native advertising. Agreeing on standard lengths of headlines (25, 90, 140 characters) and image sizes will make native ads much more appealing to brand marketers.”

— Andraz Tori, CTO Zemanta

A year and a half ago when the first version of the spec was under development there was uncertainty about the effect it could have on the industry. However, we knew it was important to start implementing standards even if they weren’t perfect yet. The uptake across the industry was amazing. Zemanta One quickly went from seeing billions of impressions a month to tens of billions. We hope to soon pass the hundred billion per month mark all being trafficked via a protocol that is less than two years old.

However with broad adoption some issues quickly became apparent. The standard didn’t place limits on image sizes and title lengths. So one publisher started accepting titles up to 49 characters in length while the other allowed 71. While having a set of different titles is quite common for content marketers it is not ideal that you never know how widely your ad will get distributed.

Since Zemanta started as pure-native DSP we have algorithms that automatically match all the right ads to the appropriate networks and exchanges, but this issue was slowing down the general adoption of native advertising. Advertisers wanted clear guidelines of what would work (almost) everywhere.

With this new spec the issue is resolved by standardizing a few formats that we hope both publishers and advertisers will adopt as “defaults”. For images it is recommended to pick one of the three aspect ratios – 1:1, 4:3, or 1.91:1. These are the ones with widest publisher support. Similarly it is expected publishers will offer three types of placements with titles that can be 25, 90 or 140 characters long.

The second major improvement is a better description for the type of native ad being trafficked and the context in which its served. Now Zemanta One knows if your content is being served to a social stream, news feed, below the article, or amongst other videos. This level of granularity gives advertisers a much clearer choice where their native ads should be placed, and at the same time for our algorithms to programmatically determine which ad formats work well for each advertiser.

We plan to promptly support the new standard to help marketers take full advantage of these new updates. Stay tuned!