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Think Big. Move Fast.

For a long time I’ve been calling for standards in social media advertising. Today if an advertiser wants to make a social media buy across multiple social sites, they will need to build different creative for each of the different social media advertising products on each of the major companies, Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, Rockyou, Slide etc.

Until recently, online video has faced the same problem. But in May the IAB approved new online video advertising standards.

Two studies have shown a positive impact from the establishment of the standards. Reports Wired:

Riddled with inconsistencies, video advertising has been a difficult marketplace to tap into. Advertisers are often forced to tailor creative for each video ad purchase, which is a big turnoff to advertisers looking to make big buys. Meanwhile, long, poorly formatted ads lead to a high rate of attrition by alienating viewers.

In May, the Interactive Advertising Bureau implemented standards to help streamline video advertising. Today, Break Media, an entertainment community for men, and Panache, a video advertising delivery-platform, released a study showing high rates of success with video ads since the standards went into effect.

Over an 11-week period, the study tested the success of the four standard formats for in-stream video advertising established by the Interactive Advertising Bureau: pre-roll, interactive pre-roll, non-overlay ads and overlay ads. Tracking advertisements for three large corporations — Honda, T-Mobile, and truTV — the study found that viewers had a high tolerance for pre-roll and overlay ads.

All of the four formats had extremely high click through rates. Completion rates for 15-second pre-roll ads were 87 percent, and 77 percent viewed videos with overlay ads for at least 15 seconds.

“Getting major advertisers major advertisers to move and turn into video advertising is going to take time,” says Panache CEO Steve Robinson. But he is enthusiastic about the new standards: “now you can just do the creative and know that it works.”

NewTeeVee notes another positive study:

Meanwhile, in a study of 100 campaigns and nearly 65 million impressions, Tremor Media measured 80 percent completion rates for both 15- and 30-second pre-roll ads. While the study’s size makes it more significant, Tremor did not look at click-through rates. Tremor said it actually saw slightly higher completion rates for 30-second ads than 15-second ones, attributing viewer willingness to watch longer ads to their placement next to high-quality content.

For Social Media to be a business we’ll need to see similar standards for social media advertising. This is why I think AOL buying Bebo is good for the industry. With AOL joining Fox as major media companies with a “dog in the fight”, hopefully we’ll move more quickly towards standards for social media advertising.