Responsive advertising on its way

It’s not just web-sites that are going responsive, to combat the move to cross-device customer journeys advertising is going to get responsive and sooner than your think. The primary driver is the sites themselves, if you want to be able to place adverts onto a site that is responsive itself then surely the advert must also be responsive?

Google recently announced all sorts of horrible penalties if your site is not properly responsive so maybe that’s their hidden agenda – if every site in the world became responsive it would make Google’s life a lot simpler!

So, as publishers begin to adopt responsive design and advertisers target their campaigns to an increasing range of devices, responsive-ad units will have a healthy future. The challenge, as ever, is delivery. Traditional ad-serving platforms use little chunks of Javascript to swap adverts in and out according the IAB standard sizes. So, a desktop might see a wide skyscraper (160×600) whilst an Android phone is served a 120×60 button. This is a horrible solution and handles orientation change badly.

The best solution, naturally, is to make the adverts themselves responsive but its still early days and there are not a wide choice, nor have the bugs been ironed out yet. Google currently provide a javascript workaround to make AdSense responsive and is no doubt working on the next stage of being fully responsive but remain rather tight-lipped at the moment. There are some nice possibilities and here is a good idea of how it might work.

Its hopeful that the current dire performance of advertising on mobile could be thoroughly energised with a neat and unobtrusive solution but don’t hold your breathe, its still early days. As usual, the IAB (the body that controls this stuff) is a little behind and a little slow out of the blocks; they’ve got a working group and they released a draft paper (PDF) at the end of last year but they seem not to be in the driving seat.