MMA Brings Standardization to Mobile Formats, but Will It Harm Ad Creative?

After a 30-day comment period the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) has announced a new “mobile ad package” that seeks to standardize mobile advertising around six ad unit types and formats. According to the MMA’s press release there were “60-plus ad unit sizes” previously. The standardized mobile units are intended to simplify ad creation and buying across smartphones, feature phones and tablets. The standardization decision came after input from companies such as AT&T, Google, InMobi, Microsoft, JumpTap, Millennial Media, CBS Interactive, the Interactive Advertising Bureau, The 4A’s, Newspaper Association of America and others. The MMA also says that rigorous data analysis went into deciding which six types of units to approve:
To create the Universal Mobile Ad Package v.2.0, the MMA, with support from ImServices Group, analyzed hundreds of billions of mobile ad impressions delivered across the global mobile advertising marketplace in 2Q 2011. The data – sorted by smart phone and feature phone, networks and publishers, and including mobile Web and app – helped determine the six unit sizes that serve as the standard Mobile Universal Ad Package v.2.0.  
The MMA added that mobile video and rich media are not covered or included in the new standardized formats and previous guidelines around SMS and MMS marketing remain in effect. Below are the newly announced standardized ad-unit formats: Screen shot 2012-02-09 at 10.17.56 AM While the trade group has certainly been thoughtful and inclusive in its approach — and standardization will indeed speed mobile ad adoption — the standardization of online ad creative was later blamed for later stifling ad creativity. That in turn prompted the Online Publishers Association in 2009 to develop a number of new, larger non-standard formats to reinvigorate PC display advertising and provide a “larger creative canvas for agencies, advertisers and publishers.”