MRC launches new guidelines for measuring mobile viewable ad impressions

Anne Freier

In Mobile Advertising. June 29, 2016

The Media Rating Council (MRC) has officially issued its final version of the Mobile Viewable Advertising Impression Measurement Guidelines which provides guidance on measuring viewable impressions across mobile web and in-app environments. The MRC says that following the initial announcement in April, the draft has been receiving input during a 30-day public commenting period.
MRC issues final draft of viewability guidance for mobile web and app
The update includes parameters for measuring viewable impressions across mobile, but also desktop devices. This is part of the first principle of Making Measurement Make Sense’s (3MS) five principles of digital measurement.
George Ivie, CEO and Executive Director, MRC, explains:
george ivie

“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. 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 final guidelines now include the following 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 indesktop 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.

David Doty, Executive Vice President and CMO, Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), adds:

“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. 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.”

MRC says that the latest issue superseded previous documents on measuring viewable impressions issued by the MRC. Developed in collaboration with the IAB, MMA and a large working group, measurers currently accredited for 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.
Duke Fanelli, Executive Vice President and CMO, Association of National Advertisers, says:
duke faneli

“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. 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.”