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Media owners urged to double file sizes for online ads

Australia’s advertisers are attempting to persuade website owners to more than double the file size of display ads to allow for more interesting creative executions.

The campaign – known as The 100kb Project – is being led by The Communications Council’s digital committee, which is chaired by Amnesia Razorfish ECD Iain McDonald.  

The Interactive Advertising Bureau, which represents Australia’s major online media owners, recently amended its guidelines on web ad standards, to allow creative of a file size of 40kb rather than 30kb, This put it in line with other IABs around the world.

But McDonald told Mumbrella that advertisers wanted more.

He said: “We’ve got an NBN on the way so we’re not going to be hampered by file sizes forever. Australia has a great opportunity to start showing the world what we can do.”

However the issue for site owners is that larger files take longer to load, which can be frustrating for users and also hurt ranking within Google.

But McDonald argued that it is relatively easy for sites to detect a user’s connection speed and serve a smaller size ad to those on slower connections.

He also argued that a major problem at the moment is that agencies create files that are too big, leading to delays in creative going online as they battle to reduce their size. He said: ‘Increasing to 100kb would increase the likelihood that content will be delivered on time.”

Pointing out that a total page size including the rest of content often amounts to 1300kb, he said: “This would only be an increase of six to seven per cent in actual size.”

IAB CEO Paul Fisher told Mumbrella that he had already met with the committee to hear the proposal. he said: “We remain to be convinced that the most efficient way of achieving the goal of better quality of creative is with a larger file size.”

He pointed out that as well as increased load times, media owners would potentially face bigger bandwidth bills and advertisers might pay more for their adserving.

However, he said that the IAB was interested in a cost benefit analysis, with the aim of showing if larger files, or bigger page formats increase brand recall. A trial by one or two of IAB’s members could then rapidly follow.

Fisher said: “I cannot see why we couldn’t consider this in weeks rather than months

Also on the Communications Council’s digital committee agenda are development of standards for measuring IPTV, drafting of digital pitch guidelines to help clients select digital agencies and the creation of  guidelines for agencies on ethical use of social media.

The digital committee’s members are:  Heather Albrecht (Digital Connections), Justin Baird (Google), Charles Clapshaw (Tequila), Nic Chamberlain (303), Graham Christie (Big Mobile), Craig Galvin (The White Agency), Nic Hodges (Mediacom), Aden Hepburn (IdeaWorks) Simon Morgan (Publicis Mojo), Ruud Spierings (Facebook), Stephen Von Muenster (Von Muenster Solicitors), and Mike Zeederberg (Zuni).

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