IAB Tech Lab Releases SHARC For Public Comment

Secure HTML Ad Rich-media Container (SHARC) Improves Managing Ad Interactions for Both Mobile and Web Environments

Today, IAB Tech Lab, the digital advertising technical standards-setting body, announced the release of a new initiative called SHARC which stands for Secure HTML Ad Rich-media Container. The release is open for public comment for a 30-day period until May 27, 2022.

SHARC is a new standard that enables interactive ads to be served across different platforms in a secure iframe that prevents the ad from accessing sensitive data. It does this with the development of a new standardized ‘safe ad container’ API that can be used in mobile-app, web, and other HTML-enabled environments.

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For the buy side, this new standard means that the same ad and creative can be served across any SHARC-enabled platform or medium; this reduces the number of creatives that need to be developed for a cross-platform campaign. For ad servers this reduces the ad load on their systems and for advertisers, in addition to saving costs, it makes it easier to expand their campaigns to new platforms and channels; for publishers it delivers more security for their content and user information.

SHARC succeeds two standards — SafeFrame for web and MRAID for mobile — it addresses inefficiencies that prevented safe ad containers from working across multiple platforms in the past. Additionally, SHARC comes with the promise of working with Prebid and other header bidding systems in the future to help ensure that the solution works with header bidding, which had been a barrier to SafeFrame adoption in the past.

“SHARC’s “design once, serve everywhere” approach saves creative agencies time and money, streamlines ad trafficking, and reduces creative load across the entire digital advertising supply chain,” said Shailley Singh, Vice President, Product, IAB Tech Lab. “Adoption of this standard will help drive the evolution of our industry by making interactive ads more efficient and scalable than previously possible. We’re calling on developers from the ad tech community to not just provide feedback on the specifications in this 30-day public comment period, but also to get involved with the working group and help us build the tools to accelerate adoption.”

“Interactive ad campaigns should be able to be served across any platform. That’s not the case today. Creative vendors are forced to build separate ads for different platforms targeting different specifications like mobile in-app and web,” said Aron Schatz, Director of Product Management, Publisher Products at DoubleVerify. “By eliminating the need to write distinct ads for each system, SHARC simplifies the creative development process and scales the programmatic buying and selling of interactive display ads.”

“Scaling ad development and programmatic exchange is just the beginning,” said Jeffrey Carlson, Product Lead, Chartboost. “SHARC will be the go-to container standard in any HTML-enabled platform, including gaming systems, CTV, and even digital out-of-home (DOOH). Imagine developing one ad and really being able to serve it anywhere.”

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