An introduction to creative best practice

The IAB's Senior Research and Project Manager, George Hopkinson, introduces the creative best practice project

“Creative” means many things to many people. In digital advertising it’s often the short hand used to refer to the ad itself. A combination of imagery, sounds and words that communicate a brand message. Creative is the final output produced by a multi-billion £ industry, it is the bridge between people and brands and, as such, it is of huge importance.

With UK advertisers spending £11.55bn a year on media space on our computers, tablets and smartphones, getting digital creative to look amazing is also of huge importance.

Welcome to the IAB UK Guide to Creative Best Practice. A simple and actionable set of guidance to help you ensure that your digital advertising not only looks great but also works beautifully on the platform that it is served.

Why is creative best practice so important? As an industry we’ve seen what happens when audiences don’t perceive any value from digital advertising. It’s all too easy to switch on an Ad Blocker. Not only is this bad news for the industry but, ultimately, bad news for people too, as advertising funds content which in turn keeps much of the internet free to access. If we don’t offer high quality advertising to audiences then we risk the sustainability of the entire industry.

Not only that. Advertisers and publishers risk damaging their brands too. The IAB UK’s Fit for Purpose research demonstrated that 78% of UK adults are bothered by ads that are not suitable for the device they are using and that these ads give a negative impression of both the brand advertised and the website host.

Further, advertisers can expect better results by creating fantastic ads that are optimised for the platform they are served. The same research illustrated that, creatively optimised ads scored more positively on brand metrics such as brand consideration and trust.

The IAB has worked with some of the leading companies within digital advertising to produce this guide which covers general principles for creative best practice in digital advertising as well as more specific guidance for producing video, audio, content, native, mobile, performance and search advertisements.


George Hopkinson, Senior Research & Project Manager, IAB UK

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