MRAID 3.0: What You Need to Know

By Andreas Rivera
Business.com / Marketing Solutions / Last Modified: December 11, 2017
Photo credit: Pure Solutions/Shutterstock

Find out what you need to know about this industry standard for mobile advertisements.

If you don't know what MRAID is, the short answer is that it's a big headache-saver for mobile developers, advertisers and publishers everywhere. The longer answer is that it is a unified set of standards that allows rich media advertisements to work across all mobile devices and platforms.

When mobile usage and applications began to skyrocket, the growing variety of operating systems, applications, coding languages and other factors was frustrating for mobile advertisement developers, as they had to code their rich media ads multiple times for each of those platforms. Animated banner ads, videos and other interactive creative assets need to be compatible within those different scripts, such as Java for Android and Objective-C for iOS, or they won't work and the ad won't be served.

To address the problem, the Interactive Advertisement Bureau (IAB), an organization of industry leaders, crafted an application programming interface (API) called the Mobile Rich Media Ad Interface Definitions.

How does it work?

The protocol comprises several rules and coding standards for developers of advertisements and applications to include in their scripts and SDKs. MRAID serves as a translator between ads made in HTML5 or JavaScript and incompatible coding languages, allowing them to communicate and execute commands for one another.

In the context of programming, MRAID is a simple API to add to any ad creative and solves a lot of problems. This protocol is for applications, as web browsers can already run the various scripts like HTML5 and JavaScript.

Why is it important?

It's important that the ad and the application cooperate, because it requires a lot of functionality for a rich media ad to display correctly. Mobile ads that are expandable, play sound and video, move with the screen as a user scrolls, or contain other interactive elements need to be able to interact with a user's device through the application. If the application doesn't recognize the ad's code, it won't even display it.

This saves time and money for developing mobile advertisement campaigns. Before this protocol, developers would have to code the same ads multiple times so that they'd appear on all major devices, which was an inefficient way to create unified ad campaigns. According to MobileAds, consumers spend more time on native apps than mobile web browsers, with 86 percent of their time spent on applications.

The IAB released the first version of MRAID in 2011 and has released updates to improve usability for ads appearing on applications so developers can expand their capabilities. MRAID also sets certain standards so that ads aren't overly disruptive.

What's new in MRAID 3.0

These are some of the most important features of MRAID 3.0, which was released in July 2017:

  • It allows the ad to identify if it's appropriate to play audio depending on the user's context. For example, if a user has headphones on and has allowed audio, it indicates the script to autoplay audio.
  • A standard close button for expanded or interstitial ads means users always have a way to close the ad. Ads without a close or hide button are highly disliked among users.
  • The application can now provide location data, allowing creatives to personalize their ad experience. For example, it's easier for an ad provider to send a custom ad to the user depending on their current city.
  • Several quality-of-life features help ads load faster and smoother, such as viewability support so the creative can identify what quality of ad will run best for the user's device and network.

If you're an advertiser, it's essential your developers are familiar with MRAID as well as this latest version. Knowing what you can do with your ads across this uniform platform will help you make more effective ads. MRAID has fast become the industry standard for coding mobile advertisements that are viewable on any device.

 

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