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What MRAID Means for Your Mobile Ads

February 23, 2016

Once upon a time, online ads were static, like posters on a bulletin board. Some ads still are. But nowadays there is a genre of web advertisements that interact with your users. Rich media ads enable the user to interact with your ad. With mobile being the computer that never leaves a user’s side, it makes sense that more and more focus is being put on ads for the mobile medium, hence MRAID. 

MRAID is how IAB decided to standardize mobile rich media ads (stands for Mobile Rich Media Ad Interface Definitions) to help streamline the standards for these ads throughout the industry. But, like all ad formats, MRAID isn’t perfect and malvertising, among other issues, can affect the user experience. The GeoEdge solution comes into play to secure the imperfect. Before we discuss how GeoEdge can scan MRAID ads to protect users from malvertising or low ad quality issues, let’s explore MRAID itself. 


MRAID Basics


MRAID suggests the common commands that every creative developer follows while creating his advertisements. The apps that support MRAID also follow the same commands mentioned in the MRAID. The result is a perfect synchronization of advertisements and apps. Because of this, the same ad can run across different applications from different publishers. 

Because MRAID lays out a set of across-the-board guidelines, it helps to solve interoperability issues between publishers’ mobile applications, ad servers, and different rich media platforms. MRAID’s guidelines relate to different ad interactions, as well as other actions such as: expand, collapse, resize, close; additional functionalities within ad: screen size, video play, save picture on your device and others.


MRAID Advantages

  1. Responsive: MRAID saves ad developers a lot of time. Since MRAID allows a single ad to function across multiple apps and platforms, the developers are no longer required to create multiple unique ads, or work on difficult customization processes.

  2. High Interoperability. Interoperability is the ability to operate on any compliant platform or app. In other words, MRAID wants you to be able to easily run your ads on any MRAID-compatible platform or app.

  3. Flexibility.  Publishers are given the flexibility of allowing or disallowing any or all MRAID features for a specific ad.

  4. Exit Button. Every MRAID compliant ad should have an exit button (the “x” in the upper right-hand corner) constantly visible. That way, when the user has full freedom to exit the rich media ad experience at any time. Most users greatly appreciate this little button and fiercely hate any company who decides that their product is great and holy enough to take away our freedom of choice. 

  5. Graceful Degradation. Every MRAID compliant ad has the ability to degrade its functionality when circumstances require it to do so. The purpose of graceful degradation is to prevent terrible failure.
    You probably know what happens when an app, site, or program starts to get stuck. All the extra features shut off, and you’re left with just the basic level of functioning. That’s graceful degradation. If those programs didn’t leave you with just the basics, they would completely and utterly flop, close, and probably do tons of other not-so-nice stuff. Graceful degradation allows them *not* to flop entirely. Or in other words, it lets the ads, and their developers, save face.

  6. Progressive Complexity.  Every MRAID compliant ad should be as simple as possible in its functionality. The features should be added in stages, so that the developer can get to know how each feature affects the way the ad functions across different apps.

  7. Consistency in communication between ad and app. One of the most important goals of MRAID is to provide consistency between rich media SDK's and ads. This way, the ads can easily communicate with SDK's regarding expanding, collapsing, or opening the app's embedded browser. Or in other words, the app and the ad need to work together – not against each other.


Protecting MRAIDs

Unfortunately, like all ad formats in the ecosystem, users can receive MRAIDS that are injected with malware, inappropriate content, etc. from bad actors. The GeoEdge ad security and verification platform is able to scan MRAIDs and prevent breaches of malvertising and other company policies. GeoEdge can scan for items like latency, high CPU, auto-redirect, sound autoplay, offensive content, competitive vertical, among many others. 


Once GeoEdge identifies an MRAID that is not compliant to your company policies, you receive an alert with detailed information of the exact source for the ad, how it affected your user, and how to stop it. To find out more about how GeoEdge can protect your app or site and prevent user experience disruption, click here.


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