One of the biggest problems accompanying the shift to mobile computing, specifically to phones, was the sheer number of different handsets, each with its own special quirks. This required marketers to product new creative for each system. To fix this issue, the MRAID (Mobile Rich Media Ad Interface Definitions) specification was developed in 2011.
According to IAB, “This specification has provided in-app advertising the means to create compelling rich media ad experiences at scale. The promise of MRAID allowed ad designers to write a creative once, and have it run in any application on any platform that was MRAID capable.”
We are now at MRAID 3.0, which aims to improve the user experience for consumers as well as for ad designers.
Some of its important features include:
- Viewability support that now allows the creative to measure viewability as per industry standards and tailor its display for the best user experience
- Audibility measurement that allows the creative to understand the user’s context and use audio in ads in a non-disruptive manner
- The standardization of the close button for expanded ads and interstitials, removes ambiguity, and ensures that the user always has the option to exit an ad
- Ads can now inform the host ad container if they encounter an error, and initiate a graceful exit, preserving a clean user experience
- Ads can now access basic information about the environment like SDK, IFA, COPPA etc., which enables them to prepare the creative in advance of rendering
- Reduction in the ambiguity in implementation by providing stricter events implementation sequence to ensure the ad and the host container are in sync
- Guidance for pre-fetched ads, which ensures that an ad is presented to a user only when it is determined that it has its assets loaded and ready to display
- Location data, when allowed by the user and the app publisher, allows ads to seamlessly use the location data for personalization of creative messaging with MRAID version 3.0
- Video advertising being among the fastest growing formats, select VPAID events are now fully integrated as part of MRAID 3.0 to ensure uniform reporting and measurement of video creative
You will recognize these definitions as largely in alignment with new theories of digital advertising that place a larger emphasis on transparency, on metrics (although they may not yet be the correct ones), and on user control of video and audio. A big issue over the last year has been the standardization of the close button, which now must be visible and unambiguously placed, so users can get accustomed to being able to close unwanted ads.