MRC Issues Guidelines for Measuring Viewable Impressions in Mobile Web and Mobile In-App Environments


Guidelines Include Requirements Consistent with Minimum Thresholds
for Viewable Impressions in Desktop


NEW YORK, June 28, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — The Media Rating Council (MRC) – the non-profit industry association whose mission is to secure for the media industry and related users audience measurement that is valid, reliable, and effective – today issued the final version of its Mobile Viewable Advertising Impression Measurement Guidelines. Updated based in part on cross-industry input received during a 30-day public comment period in April, the guidelines provide guidance for measuring viewable impressions in Mobile Web and Mobile In-Application (In-App) environments.

These final guidelines, subject to periodic updates, include parameters for measuring Viewable Impressions, an industry standard metric designed to represent those mobile ads for which the opportunity-to-see is established. They represent the last step in “Defining Impressions,” the first principle within Making Measurement Make Sense’s (3MS) five principles of digital measurement. With Viewable Impressions – across desktop and mobile environments – now clearly defined, MRC and 3MS can move forward with the remaining four principles.

“Mobile viewability is the latest critical step in creating parity between traditional and digital media measurement, laying the foundation for cross-channel, cross-platform measurement,” said George Ivie, CEO and Executive Director, MRC. “With this step complete, we are now focused on developing audience measurement metrics based on Viewable Impressions that have been filtered for fraudulent and other invalid traffic, as well as measures of an ad’s effectiveness.”

“The establishment of standards in mobile for the first threshold of digital ad measurement – viewability – marks a major milestone for the entire digital advertising industry and sets the groundwork for us to forge ahead toward creating a true digital audience measurement capability,” said David Doty, Executive Vice President and CMO, Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB). “We applaud the brands, agencies, and publishers that contributed data and input for developing the Viewable Impression Standards, and look forward to advancing with the MRC and the industry the longer-term goals of 3MS.”

“As mobile becomes more central to ad strategies, agencies need reliable ways to evaluate campaign performance,” said Terry Cohen, SVP Media and Media Research, 4A’s. “The finalization of the Mobile Viewability Guidelines provides important parameters for measuring the delivery of mobile ads, marking a pivotal moment in the journey towards our common goal of establishing cross-platform metrics for ad campaigns.”

“Marketers know that if an ad doesn’t have the opportunity to be seen, it’s far less effective – and this is just as true for mobile as for other platforms,” said Duke Fanelli, Executive Vice President and CMO, Association of National Advertisers.  “With the introduction of the Mobile Viewability Guidelines, marketers will be better equipped to measure and report on the successful delivery of ads, paving the way for better ad and campaign effectiveness metrics in the future.”

The final guidelines include the following requirements and parameters:


  • Minimum thresholds for measuring viewable impressions in mobile web and mobile in-app environments: The parameters for measuring Viewable Impressions in mobile web and mobile in-app environments are similar to those in desktop environments:
    • A mobile Viewable Impression requires a minimum of 50 percent of pixels in view for one consecutive second for display and two consecutive seconds for video.
    • These time requirements apply equally to mobile 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: It was observed within the data analysis that occurred as part of the Mobile Viewable Impression project that ads often take significantly longer to render to a mobile device than is the case with most desktop environments. As a result, the Mobile Viewable Impression Guidelines stipulate that mobile ads must fully render before viewability measurement begins.
  • The guidelines include a new provision for reporting “Sub-Second Impressions” that is specific to display ads in newsfeed environments: Although MRC concluded that there was insufficient evidence to apply different viewability thresholds for ads appearing in mobile newsfeeds, it recognized the possibility in certain cases for the opportunity-to-see to be established more rapidly in these environments. The guidelines therefore allow for separate reporting of a metric titled “Sub-Second Impressions,” which are mobile (display only) ad impressions that appear in a 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.
    • This “Sub-Second Ad Impression” metric fails to meet Viewable Impression criteria and is therefore not 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.


The guidelines supersede all previous MRC guidance on the measurement of viewable impressions of advertising that appears in mobile environments effective upon issuance. They 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 also contributed to the development of these standards. Measurers currently accredited against the Interim Guidance on Mobile Viewable Impression Measurement will have 90 days to adopt any changes that may be necessary for compliance and continued accreditation.

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About the Media Rating Council (MRC)
The MRC is a non-profit industry association established in 1963 composed of leading television, radio, print and Internet companies, as well as advertisers, advertising agencies and trade associations whose goal is to ensure measurement services that are valid, reliable and effective.  Measurement services desiring MRC Accreditation are required to disclose to their customers all methodological aspects of their service; comply with the MRC Minimum Standards for Media Rating Research and other standards MRC produces; and submit to MRC-designed audits to authenticate and illuminate their procedures.  In addition, the MRC membership actively pursues research issues they consider priorities in an effort to improve the quality of research in the marketplace. Currently approximately 110 research products are audited by the MRC.



Media Contact:

Molly Smith
FleishmanHillard for the Media Rating Council