Ad tech provider OpenX is cracking down on “ad unit abuse” by enforcing a blanket ban on low-value video units, chiefly the 300×250 video ad format.

According to the company, this particular format does not match any standard video ad size, consisting on the most part of in-banner video (IBV) and typically appearing and autoplaying in small players in the top banner or sidebar of a page.

Despite this, the 300×250 remains one of the most prolific video ad units on the web, comprising 30% of all video sold programmatically today (Pixalate/OpenX), while ranking as one of the worst offenders of providing bad ad environments for consumers and advertisers.

In addition to this, it carries Invalid Traffic rates of twice the average of all programmatic video ads units sold at present.

However, OpenX’s motives go beyond reducing shoddy user experience; the group says IBV formats have proliferated “in large part” due to the efforts of arbitrageurs and ad network resellers that purchase static banner ad inventory from publishers before reselling it as “video ad units”.

The unsuspecting clients will buy at the higher video CPM rate before an ad is “stuffed” in a mismatched video format within the static banner ad space. This harms publishers’ reputations by performing poorly, which in return, creates a poor user experience, and ultimately, results in a negative impact on advertisers’ ROI.  

“Quality is a choice”

“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 end users experience the highest quality video engagement,” said John Murphy, head of marketplace quality, OpenX.

“Quality has always been a priority at OpenX, and while IBV does not represent a significant portion of our inventory due to our strict quality standards, it is a rapidly growing industry ad format that we believe needs to be stopped in its tracks.”

The company’s co-founder, Jason Fairchild added that “quality is a choice” among ad tech companies today.

“Whether it is choosing to only work 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.”