FAQs

Making Measurement Make Sense

What is Making Measurement Make Sense and what is its goal?

  1. Making Measurement Make Sense is a cross-ecosystem initiative founded by the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s), the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), and the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB). The Media Rating Council (MRC) is responsible for setting and implementing measurement standards.
  2. The mission of 3MS is to revolutionize the way digital media is measured, planned, and transacted across the advertising industry to make it a more valuable medium for everyone involved in brand advertising. Our goal is to define and drive, across the marketing ecosystem, clear standards-based metrics for interactive advertising that are comparable to existing media. This is based on the fundamental need for consumers to see online ads in order for brands to accurately assess the value of all media as they strive to reach the right consumers for their marketing goals.

What inspired the creation of the Making Measurement Make Sense initiative?

  1. It started with industry need. Brand marketers expressed interest in increasing their spend on interactive advertising, but to do so, they needed metrics that were comparable to existing media and based on the fundamental opportunity for consumers to see the ads they placed. Sellers wanted to satisfy these desires of marketers, but didn’t have the tools to do so. Some businesses began offering measures for viewability to bridge this gap. There was clear need for an industry-wide, transparent, and standards-based solution to the measurement challenge—and the trade associations came together to address it. The result is Making Measurement Make Sense.

What is the role of the MRC in Making Measurement Make Sense?

  1. One of the primary goals of the Making Measurement Make Sense initiative was to create or identify an entity separate from the individual trade associations that could establish and manage an ecosystem-wide process for developing, testing, and institutionalizing measurement guidelines specific to interactive media. The entity must be media agnostic and have great expertise in measurement. It should be equipped to take a leadership role in managing this change in measurement and future changes. The Making Measurement Make Sense team identified MRC as the ideal candidate for the role.
  2. The Media Rating Council (MRC), a non-profit industry association formed at the behest of Congress in 1964, is tasked with securing for the media industry and related users, audience measurement that is valid, reliable, and effective. It accomplishes this objective by developing and writing standards and conducting audits, performed by an independent firm, to verify compliance with these standards. The institution, led by CEO George W. Ivie, looks out for the fairness, quality, and precision of tools and currencies for all media. The MRC has agreed with the solutions provided by the Making Measurement Make Sense initiative and has taken on a governance role to help implement them.

What is the relationship between Making Measurement Make Sense and measurement vendors?

  1. Measurement vendors are not official participants of the initiative, but they have been in frequent communication with the initiative team members. The goals of Making Measurement Make Sense are greater than that which can be accomplished through a research or measurement request for proposal. Its recommendations are meant to be impartial and transparent, non-proprietary. The initiative leaders are driving industry-wide change based on consensus. Questions in front of the Making Measurement Make Sense leadership include: How does the ecosystem want to do business? What are the core metrics the ecosystem would like to be standardized? What do buyers really need? The answers must be arrived upon independently of the specific products that measurement vendors offer.

Are any vendors accredited to standards based on the Making Measurement Make Sense principles?

  1. Yes, numerous vendors have received accreditation from the Media Rating Council (MRC) for their methods of measuring viewable impressions, as have some for digital GRPs.
  2. For a current view of MRC-accredited services, please see here

What are the Five Guiding Principles of Digital Measurement as defined by Making Measurement Make Sense?

  1. Principle #1 – Move to a “viewable impressions” standard and count real exposures online.
    1. Traditionally, due to technology limitations, the industry was only able to measure “served impressions” as recorded by ad servers. Using this technique, ad units may not have been in a viewable space on the browser, or may have failed to fully load on the screen – potentially resulting in substantial over-counting of impressions that a user actually had an opportunity to see. Viewability addresses the issue of whether ads have the opportunity to be seen, and the viewable impression is the key to making digital media measurement comparable to that of other media types.
  2. Principle #2 – Online advertising must migrate to a currency based on audience impressions, not gross ad impressions.
    1. Brand marketers target specific audiences. Marketers need to understand the quality and number of exposures against their targets – and the respective reach and frequency of such exposures. The existing digital currency makes this extremely difficult. Moreover, the practice of selling ad impressions makes cross-media comparisons extremely difficult, if not impossible.
  3. Principle #3 – Because all ad units are not created equal, we must create a transparent classification system.
    1. Unlike traditional media, which have a limited number of inventory types (e.g., 30-sec spot, full-page back cover), digital has a myriad of units. Making Measurement Make Sense advocates a transparent classification system, adhered to by all publishers. Such a system will enable marketers to identify and spotlight the best offerings for brand building, and for other marketing objectives.
  4. Principle #4 – Determine interactivity “metrics that matter” for brand marketers, so that marketers can better evaluate online’s contribution to brand building.
    1. Currently, the industry is awash in digital interaction metrics. However, these metrics are not necessarily relevant for brand marketers. Aside from click-throughs, there are few standards for enabling reliable comparison across sites. The industry must identify and define the specific metrics most valuable to brand marketers and define and implement reliable standards for existing metrics.
  5. Principle #5 – Digital media measurement must become increasingly comparable and integrated with other media.
    1. Measurement solutions must facilitate cross media platform planning, buying and evaluating of marketing and media. This is a substantial issue that hampers analysis and decision making throughout the ecosystem.

How do these principles translate into practical solutions?

  1. Making Measurement Make Sense took the Five Guiding Principles of Digital Measurement and turned them into a Five-Part Digital Marketing Measurement Solution, also referred to at the Five-Pillar Solution.
    1. Define Impression: Shift from a “served” to a viewable impression standard
    2. Establish Audience Currency: Introduce an online Gross Ratings Point metric, providing reach and frequency reporting of viewable impressions
    3. Standard Classification of Ad Units: Implement a classification system and taxonomy for banner, rich media, and streaming video ads
    4. Brand Ad Performance Metrics: Define standard and transparent metrics for view-through reporting and cumulative social activity
    5. Brand Attitudinal Measures: Establish standards and vendor validation to improve the methodology for online brand attitudinal studies

What is the timeline for completion of all five parts of the Making Measurement Make Sense solution?

  1. The Making Measurement Make Sense initiative will extend beyond the parameters described in the Five-Part Digital Marketing Measurement Solution, also referred to as the Five-Pillar Solution. For example, the viewable impression standard must be applied to mobile, and cross-media metrics must be devised. Also, defining standard brand ad performance metrics must extend to metrics beyond the two most pressing needs of the marketplace, standard definitions for view-through reporting and cumulative social activity. The great scope of its goal—to make measurement make sense—is a significant reason why the Making Measurement Make Sense initiative will benefit from the long-term governance and change-management role of the Media Rating Council (MRC).
  2. For a current timeline of the various initiatives, please see the ‘Principles & Solutions’ section of this site.

What are the benefits of implementing these achievements?

  1. 3MS will provide the ecosystem with a variety of benefits including: a consistent approach and reliable metrics for new platforms, including tablets and mobile, as well as ensuring a roadmap and structure exists for ongoing standards development and measurement change management.
  2. For specific details of the cross-industry benefits of the 3MS initiative, please visit the ‘Benefits’ section of this site.

How will Making Measurement Make Sense solutions stay relevant with the fast-changing nature of digital media?

  1. In the Making Measurement Make Sense initiative, industry leaders are working together to drive an enormous change. Its achievements are based on wide-reaching consensus and marketplace demand from marketers. It has required publishers and vendors to adopt new technologies. It has incorporated the insights of more than 150 industry participants. Its progress represents the pace of industry change when transparency, accountability, and consensus are championed. By definition, the timing of its solutions will be relevant to the marketplace.

Does the Making Measurement Make Sense initiative apply to mobile? If so, how?

  1. Yes, the Making Measurement Make Sense initiative will be extended into mobile advertising. Definitions of viewability specific to mobile ads present on both the web and in applications will be addressed. Considerations may include, for example, how in-application ads are generally positioned on the device screen, not below the fold, and therefore will generally be more viewable than mobile web ads. The distinct technical needs and solutions for measuring mobile ad viewability will also be explored in the coming months.

Does the Making Measurement Make Sense initiative apply to direct response advertising?

  1. The Making Measurement Make Sense initiative is focused on the notion of measurement for the purpose of brand building. However viewability measurement may help direct response advertisers optimize their campaigns. They will be able to measure, for example, how many ads were viewed compared to the number of actions taken, resulting in a new and valuable perspective on conversion rates. When viewable replaces served as the denominator in the calculation of conversions, the rate goes up thus signaling higher value for that inventory.

The First of Five Solutions: The Shift to Viewable Impression

What is the viewable impression, and why is it important?

  1. Transitioning from a served impression standard to a viewable impression standard is the number one guiding principle in the Five Guiding Principles of Digital Measurement as defined by the Making Measurement Make Sense initiative.
  2. The viewable impression is the key to making digital media measurement comparable to that of legacy media. In television, radio, and print, the consumer has the opportunity to see the ad. Television commercials are rendered on screens. Radio ads are broadcasted. This is not the case with digital media. Foundational industry technologies only measure if an ad has been served, not how fully it rendered on the screen or how long it was present. The viewable impression and the technological innovations that support it, such as IAB SafeFrame, answer this need.
  3. 3MS and the MRC developed guidelines for viewable impressions that state that 50 percent of pixels (whether video or display) must be in the viewable portion of an internet browser for a specific minimum amount of time: 2 continuous seconds for video ads and 1 continuous second for display ads.
  4. On March 31, 2014, the MRC lifted its advisory on the use of Viewable Impressions for display ads, and the advisory on Viewable Video Impressions was lifted on June 30, 2014. These measures will be the basis of the Audience Based Currency metrics which will increase the comparability between digital media and television.
  5. On August 18, 2015, the MRC released Viewable Ad Impression Measurement Guidelines 2.0, that included additional updates to the original Guidelines as a result of several rounds of reconciliation research. These updated Guidelines pertain to desktop advertising measurement. The MRC has issued separate Interim Guidance specific to mobile viewability measurement. The new Guidelines 2.0 also note that desktop viewable impression counts should be reported separately from mobile viewable impression counts.

What was the process of developing the viewable impression?

  1. Business leaders participating in the initiative proposed that the industry would define the viewable impression for display ads as an ad 50% in view for one second. After that, the definition was tested on live campaigns by the Media Rating Council (MRC) and was found to be sound. However, this test also found viewability was not measureable for many display ads. The primary reason for non-measurability at the time was cross-domain iframes. The MRC published an Advisory suggesting that companies wait to transact on viewable impressions until this and other technical problems could be solved.
  2. The IAB technology solution, IAB SafeFrame, has the ability to solve the cross-domain iframe issue. It should be actively adopted by publishers and buy-side vendors. At the same time, marketplace innovation has led to new solutions that allow for more complete measurement of ads appearing in cross-domain iframes by a range of viewability measurers. Also in tandem, the IAB Emerging Innovations Task Force collaborated with MRC to finalize the viewable impression standard and incorporate viewability measures into IAB’s existing digital media measurement standards. The IAB Viewable Implementation and Implications Working Group, overseen by the IAB Ad Technology group, explored how the viewable impression should be technically implemented and the technical implications of viewable impressions on the industry.
  3. The MRC lifted its Advisory for display ads at the end of Q1 2014, and for video ads at the end of Q2 2014, giving the industry a written standard for display and video viewable impressions. The MRC now uses this standard in its audits, and the industry has a green light to plan, transact, and track performance using viewable impressions.
  4. The MRC has overseen three rounds of reconciliation testing to identify and solve for discrepancies in viewability counts among vendors. As a result, on August 18, 2015 the MRC released Viewable Ad Impression Measurement Guidelines 2.0 to address specific issues identified since the original Guidelines were released on June 30, 2014. Those can be accessed here.

Why was the 2.0 version developed?

  1. The Viewable Ad Impression Measurement Guidelines 2.0 were released to address specific issues identified since the original Guidelines were released. These issues were identified primarily through a series of reconciliation projects that were designed to pinpoint the causes for discrepancies in viewable impression counts among MRC-accredited vendors.
  2. While this revision to the Guidelines includes several updates, the baseline standards for desktop ad Viewable Impressions ad remain the same. A Viewable Impression can be counted as such if, and only if, at least 50 percent of the pixels are in view for a minimum of one continuous second for display and two continuous seconds for video advertisements.

What are other technical challenges to measuring viewability?

  1. In addition to cross-domain iframe challenges, the means in which the industry filters out the non-intentional, fraudulent impressions caused several challenges. Fraud prevention is an ever-escalating race where any publication of one’s methods for detection can be used by bad actors to circumvent that detection. But in the case of measurability, the variation in filters can cause great variation in the number of impressions that can be measured for viewability, and thus result in widely different calculations of viewability rates. This is because viewability rates are calculated as number of viewable impressions divided by the number of impressions that could be measured for viewability.
  2. Technical challenges like these are what caused the Media Rating Council to issue its original Advisory against transacting on the viewable impression.
  3. In the MRC’s Viewable Ad Impression Guidelines 2.0, issued in August 2015, MRC noted that another challenge comes with the measurement of Multi-Ad Units. Certain display ad campaign buys may be done on the basis of viewability measurement across multiple ad units. In such instances, viewability rules sometimes have been applied inconsistently. For instance, for certain page takeover buys, in which multiple ads for the same product appear on the same page at the same time, there have been cases where measurers required all ads to be viewable in order to count the multi-ad unit as “viewable.” The Guidelines 2.0 specifies that ad units should be measured individually for viewability, regardless of whether and how they may be packaged together for monetization purposes.
  4. Additionally, the updated Guidelines emphasize a need for consistency when the viewable impression count should occur when other Ad Verification functions (such as consideration of site contextual issues, geographic targeting, or other criteria) are also applied.

What’s the difference between not viewable and not measurable?

  1. A not viewable impression was measured and was determined not to have met the thresholds for viewability. A not measurable impression was one in which the viewability was not ascertainable. One of the biggest challenges to reliable viewable impression measurement is non-measurability caused by cross-domain iframes.

What is the accepted way to calculate a viewability rate?

  1. Viewability rates are calculated as number of viewable impressions divided by the number of impressions that could be measured for viewability.

What is the position of the Making Measurement Make Sense initiative regarding the various vendor solutions for viewability measurement in market today?

  1. The viewable impression definition based on the work of the Making Measurement Make Sense initiative is grounded in ecosystem-wide consensus, transparency, and accountability. The Media Rating Council (MRC) oversaw the development of the viewable impression measurement standard.
  2. Vendors are implementing viewability in the manner they see fit. Some implementations already meet the standard, and some are further away from it.
  3. Numerous vendors have received accreditation from the Media Rating Council (MRC) for their methods of measuring viewable impressions, as have some for digital GRP measurement.
  4. For an MRC-produced summary of the capabilities of currently accredited viewable impression measurers, click here.

Why did it take the Making Measurement Make Sense Initiative longer to produce a viewability measure than vendors?

  1. Making Measurement Make Sense is evolving industry-wide digital media measurement practices based on ecosystem-wide consensus, transparency, and accountability. The initiative requires the participation and agreement of a vast array of individuals from across the expansive advertising and media marketplace. The viewable impression standard is a foundational element of this change. Details of the guideline had to be discussed and debated before they were finalized. Vendors have no such restrictions.

As a publisher, won’t I lose money if I move to viewable and it decreases my sellable inventory?

  1. There may be some short-term revenue change. Initially the transition will require financial expenses and resources, as this shift in currency will be the catalyst of many changes. In addition it may decrease inventory. But the end result is expected not only to be higher CPMs, but also a greater investment in digital media from marketers. The upside potential is quite significant.
  2. With the viewable impression, marketers will have assurance that their ad has had the opportunity to be seen, and they will also be encouraged to purchase digital media because of its comparability to legacy media. This is an essential shift in order for marketers to be able to more intelligently allocate their budgets between digital and other media, invest more confidently in digital media, and increase accountability, performance, and marketing budgets overall. Additionally, the brand impact of digital media will improve by definition, because unviewed impressions—that people could not see and therefore could not be influenced by—are removed from the calculation.
  3. While change can be uncomfortable, the outcome is likely to be a stronger, bigger, more prosperous interactive advertising industry, and advertising industry overall.
  4. From another perspective, if a buyer is asking for a transaction based on viewable impressions, and a publisher isn’t transacting on them out of fear of losing inventory, that publisher will lose the sale. Publishers that aren’t able to take the risk may lose out altogether. Publishers that move forward are likely to reap great reward.

How should I evaluate viewable impression vendors?

  1. A seller or buyer interested in working with a vendor to measure viewable impressions should pursue a thorough understanding of the vendor’s processes, especially if this measurement is to be the basis of a transaction.
  2. Some questions to ask:
    1. Are you audited by the Media Rating Council?
    2. What criteria do you use to determine if an impression is viewable?
    3. What are the limitations of your method? Can you measure viewability in spite of iframes?
    4. Does your technology report all three critical viewability metrics: viewable, not viewable, and not measureable? Note the distinction between not viewable and not measurable—a not viewable impression was measured and was deemed not to fit the criteria of viewability; a not measurable impression was one in which the viewability was not ascertainable
    5. What are the average Measured Rates (i.e., the percentage of impressions for which a viewable or non-viewable determination can be made) for your viewability measurements? Note that higher is generally better.
  3. The answers to these questions will help publishers and advertisers understand the nature and value of services, and move toward productive conversations about viewable impression measurement and discrepancies.
  4. Additionally, in October 2014, the MRC issued a checklist of key considerations when entering into an agreement around viewable impressions. The ongoing refinement of these practices will allow practitioners to expand their scope, incorporate new learnings and improvements that can enhance their effectiveness. This summary is beneficial to advertisers, agencies and publishers to transition from served impressions to viewable impressions.
  5. Download: Viewability Implementation: Background and Checklist of Key Considerations

Now that the viewable impression standard is finalized, will I be able to continue selling or buying advertising on served impressions?

  1. The short answer is yes. But it is a question only the marketplace can answer. If buyers would like to transact based on served impressions, then publishers are free to do.

What are rendered served ad impressions? Why are they important?

  1. Rendered Served Ad Impressions are served impressions that meet the current requirements for a valid served ad impression as specified by the IAB Ad Impression Measurement Guidelines, with the exception of those ads counted as served utilizing a “Count on Decision” methodology, which is a method in which the served ad is counted at an early point in the client-side counting process (the count typically occurs when the ad server serves the ad content in response to a browser request).
  2. The online environment has changed significantly in the time since the Ad Impression Guidelines were originally written, and today many ads served under a Count on Decision approach never actually render to the browser. As of August 2015, the MRC is working with the IAB to update the IAB Ad Impression Measurement Guidelines in the near future to reflect this change in orientation concerning the legitimacy of Count on Decision as a methodology for counting served ad impressions, as well as to make any other updates required to the rules for served impression counting that result from learnings gained related to viewability.

If the time threshold for viewable impressions is one second for display and two seconds for video, how can a brand ensure that its entire ad is viewed, seen, and effective?

  1. A viewable impression was never intended to – and does not – serve as a measure of user engagement with an ad’s creative, or of an ad’s effectiveness. Crucially, these guidelines are benchmarks and should be used as just one ingredient in the ad campaign measurement mix. The intention of viewability is to define whether a consumer even had the chance to see the ad, not whether they engaged with it or took action as a result of seeing it.
  2. The viewable impression’s time requirements were determined after extensive study of hundreds of millions of data points in various environments and contexts. Based on this research, we arrived at two continuous seconds as the minimum time required to qualify as a viewable video impression precisely because it proved to be just prior to the time when people began to recognize and act upon the ads.
  3. Viewable Impressions represent a starting point in the development of other elements of our long-range plans to enhance digital measurement. For example, the viewable impression will now serve as a baseline building block for other metrics that will more fully incorporate duration (such as digital GRPs), as well as metrics that will better lend themselves as measures of ad engagement and effectiveness.

There seems to be a wide variance between vendor counts, why is there a discrepancy and what are you doing to address it?

  1. The Media Rating Council continues to work to reconcile the viewable impression counts of vendors accredited by the MRC for their viewable ad impression measurement and narrow the variability between vendors’ impression counts.
  2. Multiple measurement tags can contribute to this discrepancy. Some measurers choose to not measure certain ads for viewability that also may be tagged for measurement by another vendor, or are served by another ad server than the measurer.  While a vendor is not required to measure the ad in those cases where another viewability measurer’s tracking asset is present or another entity serves the ad, the effect of this treatment should be quantified for data users, as this practice often can confound the viewability measurement reconciliation process. InViewable Ad Impression Measurement Guidelines 2.0, released in August 2015, the MRC notes that disclosure of such situations is now a requirement.
    In March 2014, MRC issued guidance on certain measurement processes that were contributing to these discrepancies and are working with vendors, publishers and technology providers to encourage adoption, eliminate confusion and increase clarity. This is helping to effectively standardize measurement practices and we’re confident that over the next few months we’ll see a continued narrowing of the margins of difference between impression counts. The most current information on accredited vendors is available on the MRC site. www.mediaratingcouncil.org.

How does a vendor, publisher, or advertiser transition from served impressions to viewable impressions?

  1. In October 2014, the MRC issued a checklist of key considerations when entering into an agreement around viewable impressions. The ongoing refinement of these practices will allow practitioners to expand their scope, incorporate new learnings and improvements that can enhance their effectiveness. This summary is beneficial to advertisers, agencies and publishers to transition from served impressions to viewable impressions.
  2. Download: Viewability Implementation: Background and Checklist of Key Considerations

Are the guidelines meant to address digital fraud?

  1. The viewable impression guidelines were developed in response to industry demand for a standard way to measure and transact on digital advertising. Specifically, the guidelines were developed to create a standard metric for viewable impressions, marking a shift from transacting on “served impressions.”
  2. It’s important to note that viewability and fraud are not synonymous. Rather, they are separate issues with small areas of overlap, and should be tackled as such. Fraud is about the non-human traffic that skews performance metrics. Viewability is about the opportunity to see.
  3. The MRC recently launched a project to strengthen benchmarks for the filtration and disclosure of invalid non-human traffic. Although both the issues of viewability and fraud are being addressed, they are being tackled separately, as they are separate matter

Mobile Viewability

What are the Mobile Viewable Impression Guidelines?

The Mobile Viewable Advertising Impression Guidelines, issued on June 28, 2016 by the MRC, provide guidance for measuring viewable impressions in Mobile Web and Mobile In-Application (In-App) environments. They include cross-industry input received during a 30-day public comment period. The key elements of the final guidelines include:

  • Minimum thresholds for measuring viewable impressions in mobile web and mobile in-app environments: The guidelines for Viewable Impressions in desktop environments extend to mobile web and mobile in-app environments. The same minimum pixel and time thresholds apply:
    • 50 percent of pixels in view for one consecutive second for display and two consecutive seconds for video.
    • This time requirement applies equally to newsfeed and non-newsfeed environments.
    • Satisfying the minimum pixel requirement should precede the measurement of the time duration.
  • A mobile ad must render before viewability measurement occurs: Because ads often take significantly longer to render to a mobile device than is the case with most desktop environments, the Mobile Viewable Impression Guidelines require mobile ads to fully render prior to beginning measurement for viewability.

How were these guidelines determined?

The guidelines were developed in collaboration with IAB, MMA, and a large working group whose extensive input and data informed MRC analysis and final guidance. Members of the Making Measurement Make Sense (3MS) initiative (made up of the ANA, 4A’s and IAB) also contributed to the development of these standards.

 

In April 2016, MRC issued a draft of the guidelines for a 30-day public comment period. The final guidelines include cross-industry feedback and input captured during that timeframe. In 2015, MRC issued interim guidance. The guidelines issued on June 28, 2016 supersede the parameters outlined in previous guidance.

Why did the process take the amount of time that it did?

The mobile environment presents a diverse set of challenges, particularly related to the unique ways users engage and consume content on mobile devices. To ensure MRC set forth metrics and standards that effectively accounted for these behaviors in the context of ad delivery, 3MS and MRC conducted extensive research and evaluated significant datasets. This effort also ensured that buy, sell and measurement organizations across the ecosystem had adequate time to provide feedback, and that this feedback could be synthesized into the final guidelines as deemed appropriate.

Will the Mobile Viewable Impression guidelines change?

All of the guidelines MRC issues are subject to periodic updates. IAB has formed a Modernizing Measurement Task Force (MMTF) whose job is to serve in an advisory role to assist MRC in keeping all existing measurement guidelines up-to-date going forward as technology changes and other external forces evolve that may impact existing standards.

How do the guidelines impact MRC accredited companies?

Measurers currently accredited against the Interim Guidance for Mobile Viewable Impressions will have 90 days from June 28, 2016 to adopt any changes that may be necessary for compliance and continued accreditation.

What are the most significant differences from the public comment period version of the Guidelines?

The most significant addition from the public comment draft version is the introduction of the “Sub-Second Impression” reporting metric. The Sub-Second Impression is separate from the Viewable Impression and is designed specifically for the limited context of display ads within mobile newsfeed environments.  A Sub-Second Impression can be counted for a display ad within a mobile newsfeed if at least 50% of the ad’s pixels are in view for at least 0.5 continuous seconds but less than one continuous second.  It is not a Viewable Impression, as it does not meet the required time in view necessary to be categorized as a Viewable Impression.

Who do the guidelines impact the most?

They are designed to provide guidance to both the buy and sell sides of the digital media ecosystem and measurement organizations. The guidelines are a critical step forward in the process to develop standards for digital (and eventually cross media) audience metrics, and, ultimately, better measures of ad effectiveness across channels and platforms.

What is a mobile viewable impression?

A Mobile Viewable Impression – or a Viewable Impression in mobile web or mobile in-app environments – is a measure of whether a mobile ad had the opportunity to be seen. The same minimum thresholds for desktop Viewable Impressions apply to those in mobile environments: 50 percent of pixels in view for one consecutive second for display and two consecutive seconds for video. These time and pixel requirements apply equally to newsfeed and non-newsfeed environments.

 

There are three primary requirements for Mobile Viewable Impressions. To be considered a Mobile Viewable Impression, an ad must:

  • First: meet minimum thresholds for pixels
  • Second: meet minimum thresholds for time duration

Third: a mobile ad must render before viewability measurement can begin. A valid Viewable Impression must originate from a valid Mobile Rendered Impression; there is a maximum 1:1 ratio between the two.

When will the guidelines for Viewable Impressions on mobile devices be available?

  1. On Nov. 12, 2015, the MRC issued an update on this effort. The updated can be viewed here.
  2. As of December 11, 2015, the MRC continues to evaluate data to further develop mobile viewability standards with the Mobile Viewability Working Group that was formed for this project. A final mobile viewability guidelines document is expected to be released for public circulation and comment period in Q1 2016.
  3. In May 2014, the MRC issued the Interim Guidance on Mobile Viewable Impression Measurement. The Interim Guidance issued in May remains in effect, and follows similar criteria as currently required by the MRC’s Viewable Impression Measurement Guidelines to determine viewability in desktop environments. Viewable impression measurement of ads in both mobile web browser and mobile in application environments should follow the existing guidance for viewability in desktop (50 percent of pixels in the viewable space of the browser for a minimum of one second for display and two seconds for video ads).
  4. On June 28, 2016, the MRC released the Guidelines for Measuring Viewable Impressions in Mobile Web and Mobile In-App Environments.

About Sub-Second Impressions

What is the sub-second impression?

The final version of the guidelines includes the definition of a new reporting metric called the “Sub-Second Impression.” It is not a Viewable Impression as it does not meet the minimum time thresholds for a Mobile Display Ad Viewable Impression.  The Sub-Second Impression is a reporting metric that can help buy/sell parties to assign the value they deem appropriate to this segment of display ad inventory in the mobile newsfeed environment that meets certain time/pixel criteria, but does not meet the minimum one continuous second threshold required for Viewable Impressions.

It allows for the separate reporting of mobile (display only) ad impressions that appear in newsfeed where 50 percent or more of the ad’s pixels are in continuous view for more than 0.5 seconds but less than the one second (post-render) minimum threshold for a Viewable Impression.

Why did MRC create this?

MRC recognizes that – although not substantiated by current data – an opportunity-to-see may be established in certain contexts more rapidly within a mobile newsfeed environment. The guidelines therefore allow for separate reporting of mobile (display only) ad impressions that appear in newsfeed where 50 percent or more of the ad’s pixels are in continuous view for more than 0.5 seconds but less than the one second (post-render) minimum threshold for a Viewable Impression.

However, the segregated reporting of Sub-Second Impressions can facilitate buy/sell parties’ abilities to recognize any value they may choose to assign to these impressions, while also recognizing they do not meet the requirements to qualify as Viewable Impressions.

Does the sub-second impression apply to desktop?

No, it only applies to display ads in mobile newsfeed environments.

Why not?

MRC concluded that the same situation that led it to allow for Sub-Second Impression reporting for mobile display ads in newsfeeds does not exist for desktop display ads.

Will MRC accredit measurers for the Sub-Second Impression?

Yes, MRC can consider a Sub-Second Impression metric for accreditation as part of future mobile
viewable impression audits.

What’s next?

Today, MRC and 3MS are moving forward to the next phases of their initiative to create parity between how traditional (legacy) and digital (interactive) media are measured, planned and evaluated. This will allow brand marketers to derive more value from the digital marketing ecosystem.
Nearing completion of Phase 1 – measurement metrics for “Delivery of an Ad” – 3MS and MRC have begun work on Phase 2, which involves enhancing metrics for measurement of the “Effectiveness of an Ad.” Creating standards for an Audience-Based Currency will incorporate aspects of both phases, and additional projects to develop standards for other ad effectiveness measures, such as engagement with an ad, are scheduled to launch later in 2016.

Social Media Measurement Guidelines

What are the Social Media Measurement Guidelines?

  1. The Social Media Measurement Guidelines V1.0 establish a detailed set of methods, definitions and common practices for entities that measure social media activity. The guidelines are intended to cover the methods used for measurement of certain types of Social Media activity including tracking/counting users, interaction or engagement; and consumer listening and sentiment.
  2. They are also intended to:
    • Establish and document good practices of measurement
    • Improve practices and disclosures used by practitioners
    • Provide education to users of Social Media data from all segments of the industry
    • Establish a recommendation and benchmark for audit processes whereby the practices and disclosures of Social Media measurement organizations can be validated by third parties

Who do they govern?

  1. All measurers seeking MRC accreditation for any Social Media measurement processes will be assessed against the guidelines.
  2. The document was prepared for the use and benefit of the media industry at large, especially those organizations that analyze behavior or user-generated/posted information, measure advertising and those that attempt to monetize events (buyer or seller) in a Social Media environment.

How do they fit into the overall 3MS Project?

  1. The remit of 3MS – Making Measurement Make Sense – is to revolutionize the way digital media is measured, planned, and transacted across the advertising industry in order to make it a more valuable medium for everyone involved in brand advertising.
  2. The guidelines outline definitions and create standard approaches to measurement in the Social Media space. By doing so, they will improve practices and disclosures to ensure a more standardized environment in which social media can be monetized.
  3. One of the three key objectives for 3MS is to “determine the right metrics and solutions” and by defining the appropriate metrics for social media channels, the guidelines are moving 3MS towards achieving these objectives.

Who created them?

  1. The guidelines were developed by a cross-industry consortium of both buy and sell-side organizations. Led by the Media Rating Council, the guidelines were co-sponsored by the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s) Social Media Committee, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA).
  2. The Association of National Advertisers participated in the development by enabling member organizations to review and provide feedback on the public comment version of the guidelines (issued Sept. 2015).