New OPA Display Ads to Help Ad Networks and Exchanges

opa-display-advertisingThe Online Publishers Association has nobly decided to help the world of display advertising by introducing three, online display ad sizes.

Each new ad unit will be implemented and sold only through participating publishers’ direct sales teams later this year. Implicit is that ad networks and exchanges will not be selling these units.

Yeah, right.

Publishers, ad networks and advertising exchanges everywhere would be wise to start supporting these sizes ASAP for at least four reasons.

  • Advertisers will be looking to buy inventory for these sizes anywhere they can get acceptable ROI.
  • The new, enhanced units will be costly to make and advertisers will want to stretch their investment on creative dollars.
  • There will be unsold inventory and, rather than serving a house ad, at some point even large OPA publishers will be forced to turn to ad networks and exchanges no matter how much they want to avoid it.
  • Someday, these ad units will be sold through advertising exchanges right out of the gate – rather than through the direct sales team – as premium inventory slides over to the exchange.

OPA chief Pam Horan is quoted in the release, “Online Publishers Association Members Announce New Display Advertising Units,” as follows:

“‘Members of the OPA are offering a set of new principles and unique display advertising units to continue to foster innovation and leverage an environment that research has proven delivers better results for advertisers,’ said Pam Horan, president of OPA.”

$100 CPMs here we come!

Online Publishers Association Ad Unit
Artists rendering of
new, Online Publishers Association ad unit

The OPA continues to try to avoid the insight and power that technology provides in the advertising marketplace through exchanges and networks. We predict that selling premium impressions “direct only” will not yield efficient ROI for advertisers in the long run.

Among the initial group of web publishers set to test the new, larger banners sizes are: The New York Times, Reed Business Information, Bizjournals, BabyCenter, CBS Interactive, CNN, Condé Nast Digital, Discovery Communications, ESPN,, Bloomberg, BusinessWeek, FOXNews Digital, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Meredith Interactive,, IDG, iVillage Network, MTV Networks, Reuters, Time Inc., USA Today, NBC Universal, New York Media, and The Wall Street Journal Digital Network.

The OPA offers four reasons of its own for the new ad sizes:

* Inspire creativity and high-quality advertising
* Provide a greater share of voice for the advertiser
* Introduce a measurement to capture impact
* Enhance interactivity to build user engagement with brands

Here the OPA has sided with recent noise from the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) suggesting that creativity, somehow, does not exist in current ad sizes. If it wasn’t for those gosh darned ad networks and exchanges which keep monetizing their unsold inventory, their CPMs would be so much better!

The three new ad sizes consist of functonality reminiscent of rich media providers PointRoll, Eyeblaster and Eyewonder:

  • The Fixed Panel – 336 wide x 860 tall.
  • The XXL Box – 468 wide x 648 tall, “which has page-turn functionality with video capability.”
  • The Pushdown – 970 wide x 418 tall, “which opens to display the advertisement and then rolls up to the top of the page.”

Look for the IAB to formally adopt these ads on their “list” of standard sizes in the near future as well.

Rob Hof’s article in BusinessWeek has a selection of juicy quotes from Martin Nisenholtz, former OPA chair and current SVP of NY Times Digital including: “The whole purpose of this is to map the quality of the creative [ad] to the quality of the sites. Part of the problem is that much of the Web is a sewer.”

Translation: The Long Tail sucks. Come spend here on our big portal, Mr. or Ms. Advertiser.

Trouble is, Marty, the Long Tail is now open to advertisers through behavioral and contextual targeting technology among others which efficiently aggregates online ad inventory at scale with reasonable and improving brand safety.

When is the OPA going to understand that technology is its member publishers’ best friend rather than worst enemy?

Answer: Not soon enough.

Enjoying this content?

Sign up to be an AdExchanger Member today and get unlimited access to articles like this, plus proprietary data and research, conference discounts, on-demand access to event content, and more!

Join Today!

1 Comment

  1. Already got an email from burst asking if I would run the new formats. How does the OPA think that adnets won’t support/sell these new units?