OpenX bans video ad units with the size 300×250 on open exchange

OpenX announced last week that is banning from its ad exchange a group of video ad formats, including the 300×250 — one of the most prolific video ad units, that rank among the worst offenders of providing bad ad environments for consumers and advertisers in the advertisement industry.

In a joint study with Pixalate, the data platform that offers a comprehensive suite of products that bring transparency to programmatic advertising, OpenX confirmed that the 300×250 video unit accounts for over 30 percent of all video sold programmatically today. The study also found that this particular video ad unit had Invalid Traffic (IVT) rates nearly a third higher than the average of all other programmatic video ad units sold today.

300×250 video ads are a prime example of ads that provide a poor user experience, says OpenX. The 300×250 size does not match any standard video ad size and consists almost entirely of in-banner video (IBV), a video ad that is “stuffed” into a banner ad but sold as in-stream video inventory or mislabeled outstream units.

According to OpenX, this move marks an industry-first initiative by the company to ensure the highest quality marketplace for brands, publishers, and consumers.

“Video is a rapidly growing part of the programmatic ecosystem, and as the medium matures, the industry needs to constantly stay ahead of format variations to ensure brands, publishers and consumers experience the highest quality video engagement,” said John Murphy, head of marketplace quality, OpenX. “Quality has always been a priority at OpenX, and this step confirms our conclusion that this ad unit has no place in any advertising exchange that values quality. Put simply, it is an ad unit that should be stopped in its tracks.”

IBV (in-banner video) has proliferated due in large part to the efforts of arbitrageurs and ad network resellers that purchase static banner ad inventory from publishers and then resell the ads as “video ad units.” The unsuspecting brand is billed at the higher video CPM and a video ad, designed for a different format, is then “stuffed” into the static banner ad space. These ads create a bad user experience for consumers and, ultimately, negatively impact ROI for brands.

“Video ad quality is paramount in today’s programmatic marketplace,” said Jalal Nasir, CEO of Pixalate. “We applaud OpenX for taking a stand, backed by data-driven analysis, to improve the overall quality of the programmatic video ecosystem. We encourage others to take similar steps in a bid to improve quality across the board.”

According to a separate OpenX performance assessment of 300×250 video ads, the company also found that this particular ad size is 80 percent less viewable compared to all other video ad sizes and they are 98 percent less likely to be completed while visible and audible.

“Quality is a choice. Whether it is choosing to work only with TAG certified companies, or limiting ad buys to ads.txt approved partners, or, as in the case of video, choosing to work with partners that will put the interests of the entire ecosystem above short-term gain, we must expect every player in digital advertising to make quality and value central pillars of their business,” said Jason Fairchild, co-founder, OpenX.