Results tagged “3MS” from IABlog

Digital Video In-Stream Metrics Released!

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If you are familiar with the story of the Tower of Babel, you’re aware of the potential power behind a commonly understood language. When everyone accepts definitions in the same way, the chance of confusion is eliminated and time can be spent more efficiently in progressing forward rather than having to consistently translate various interpretations. Digital Video In-Stream Metrics serve this exact purpose for buyers and sellers of digital video in-stream advertising, and have played an important role in maturing the industry and supporting its evolution. 


Digital video is a fast moving marketing channel undergoing a large amount of innovation and technical functionality, so the industry will need to periodically review and revise standards to reflect the needs of current practice. The last update to the metrics was in 2008, so IAB convened a working group to modernize the metrics but we found during comment periods that there were some prevailing questions that we chose to address outside of the document. 

We hosted the webinar, Digital Video Metrics Modernized to provide an overview of the document and addressed those questions, and as an added layer of clarity we have outlined them in an FAQ. Ultimately, our goal is to enable growth in the industry. We do this by building and maintaining consensus around the use of these metrics and concepts so that buyers understand sellers and transparency is established.

FAQ Digital Video In-Stream Metric Definitions 

Why not combine the metric definitions with the Impression Measurement Guidelines?

IAB Impression Measurement Guidelines, which have been developed for display, mobile and digital video, describe technical details for how an ad impression should be counted in each of the specified contexts. Each of the Impression Measurement Guidelines documents is used in the industry to establish sound measurement practices for ad impressions. 

In contrast, the Digital Video In-Stream Metric Definition document, simply describe a baseline of interactive metrics that companies can voluntarily track in digital video. No technical guidelines are imposed for how each metric is measured, allowing companies make the best use of their technology while offering the Industry a common definition for select interactive digital video metrics.

Why isn’t viewability covered in the update to metric definitions for digital in-stream video?

Viewability in digital video is a more complex issue than simply defining a term. The 2014 Digital In-Stream Video Metric Definitions only defines a baseline set of interactive metrics that the industry can use as a common lexicon. However, establishing common measurement practices for determining whether an ad is in view requires a process that identifies and addresses technical and operational challenges. The Make Measurements Make Sense (3MS) initiative is leading the efforts toward more effective impression measurements. As a standard becomes adopted in the industry, these metric definitions may be updated to reflect relevant changes.

We serve video ads into 300x250 placements on websites. Why is this being excluded from the definition for digital video in-stream video ads?

The format of an ad does not make it a digital video in-stream video ad; the context into which the ad is served defines digital in-stream video ads. The technology for receiving and executing ads is different and requires different resources when the ad is served into a webpage and when served into a video player. Video ads that are served into a webpage are commonly known as in-banner video ads and are executed by the browser. Separately, ads served into a player are received and executed by the player—each of which may be built using proprietary code. Therefore, only ads served to a player (video or otherwise), constitute a digital in-stream video ad.

What constitutes a “player?”

In the context of digital in-stream video, a player is a browser-based computer program that executes videos, animation, or games that streams publisher content.

One advertising strategy we use is to stream short clips of content along with ads into a display placement on a publisher’s webpage. Our ads are played before, during, or after the content we serve, and they’re served into a player. Are our ads considered digital in-stream video ads?

If the content being streamed belongs to the same publisher that also owns the webpage content into which you are serving the clips and ads, then yes. For example, a news publisher may post several short news clips in the sidebar of their page. Ads served into these news clips are considered digital in-stream video ads.

However, if the content belongs to publishers other than the one who owns the page content, and especially if that content is served to a display ad placement on the page, the content is a form of advertising. In this case, the content, as well as the ads served with it, are being served to the webpage and classified as in-page, or in-banner video ads.

Is mobile covered in this metric definition update?

Ads served into browser-based players that stream publisher content are considered digital in-stream ads, regardless of the device in which they play. However, mobile devices present some challenges to tracking ad interactions. Native players in mobile devices are capable of playing content while offline and therefore lack the persistent connection required for communicating ad interactions in real time. For now, the 2014 Digital In-Stream Video Metric Definitions are restricted to the context of live streaming content. However, to the extent possible, these metric definitions may be applied to native digital players in mobile.

Are the ads we serve into games considered digital in-stream video ads?

Yes, game publishers may sell ad inventory that is served into their browser-based game players. Ads served into these players are considered digital in-stream video ads.

About the Author
Jessica Anderson
Jessica Anderson is Senior Manager of Advertising Technology at IAB. 


The Fourth Quarter Countdown to Viewability

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Marketers love digital media, plain and simple. The digital platform gives marketers opportunities to create conversations and consumer relationships that heretofore were not possible. Brands are being built and results are being generated due to digital’s expansion within the marketing mix.

But marketers are also frustrated by the lack of “viewability”. In 2012, according to various sources, 1.8 trillion display ads were paid for, but could not be seen. We are close to realizing a material improvement to this fundamental issue: viewability. Yes, the viewable impression is nearly here. The Media Rating Council (MRC) expects to lift its Viewable Impression Advisory by the end of this year, and at that time marketers will eagerly start buying digital media on viewable metrics. Publishers and agencies, we hope you’re ready.

Marketers reportedly waste billions of dollars annually in display ads that are not viewable. ANA’s Board of Directors and the larger marketing community have demanded that viewability become the basis for digital currency and transactions. 

In February 2011, when ANA joined with IAB and the 4A’s to start the Making Measurement Make Sense initiative, we recognized a tremendous shortfall in digital spending productivity. We saw a substantial confidence gap in understanding the value of marketing investment in display and video advertising. We were horrified that the media that was “supposed to be the most accountable” was turning out to be the least accountable. With great anticipation, we are now just a few months away from resolving a significant driver of this dilemma.

The foundation of this excitement is the overdue shift from served impressions to viewable impressions. It gives marketers the assurance that consumers get to see the ad that they paid to place. Critically, it opens the opportunity for apples-to-apples cross-platform comparisons that will increase marketer confidence in the development of intelligent and capable multi-screen marketing plans. It provides marketers with the accountability they need to embrace digital more enthusiastically. There’s also a great benefit for publishers, agencies, and others that succeed in making the transformation to viewable, as they will become the preferred partners of these hungry marketers. The upside is enormous for all those that make the shift.  

We recognize, however, that the move to viewable is rattling many businesses to their cores. Publishers need to adopt SafeFrame to increase the proportion of their inventory that is measurable for viewability, and to adjust the very constitution of their operations to manage this important currency change.

We understand that the system will be imperfect. Refinement of viewable impression transactions will continue even after the MRC Advisory is lifted. For example, new complexities in discrepancy resolution will need to be explored and resolved

There is no turning back. The marketing community has waited too long and wasted too much money not to make the leap to viewable. We cannot be frozen by fear or perfectionism either. Without forward motion, we will undermine the advancements already established. We will also undercut future enhancements that will make digital media a more appealing brand-building investment for marketers.

The viewable impression will be the foundation of fundamental innovations such as the Digital GRP. Creating a GRP that is comparable to that in other media is crucial for the evolution of cross-platform analytics. Marketer’s inherent challenge to enhance integrated marketing would be dramatically reduced by a “common GRP.” This would facilitate improved decision-making and resolve cornerstone issues such as marketing mix modeling and media budgeting decisions. Combined with the growing use of the common coding power of Ad-ID, marketing measurement for publishers, agencies, and marketers would be turbocharged.

For the digital media industry, the only question is how fast we can implement these historic changes. The MRC is bounding onwards, completing the work needed to lift the advisory and continuing to guide us toward a more accountable media marketplace. For agencies, forward motion means being ready to rely on the clarity provided by these new metrics to advise and act in the best interests of marketers. For publishers, it means adopting SafeFrame now and being ready to satisfy marketer demand for viewable impression transactions by the end of the year. 

This is the age of accountability. If you’re ready to meet the demands of the day, you’ll be greatly rewarded. But if you’re not a participant, you’ll run the risk of being left on the sidelines. Let’s do this all together and move the industry decidedly forward. 

About the Author

bliodice.jpgBob Liodice

Bob Liodice is President and Chief Executive Officer, Association of National Advertisers

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GRPs are coming at you…like a train,” warned George Ivie, CEO and Executive Director at the Media Rating Council (MRC). Presenting in a webinar the IAB hosted Monday, April 15, Ivie offered some insight on the buy-side push for certified viewable impressions that will eventually play a role in the all important cross-media GRPs. 

The most difficult aspect of adopting a viewable impression has been the lack of a standard way to measure viewability, especially for ads that are rendered within iframes. The IAB’s recently released SafeFrame specification and open source reference implementation is the solution, but time is running out and the industry faces some challenges that must be overcome. 

Here’s what you need to know about viewability and SafeFrame:

The Buyer’s demand for viewable impressions is old news
Companies, such as measurement verification services, have been asking the MRC to audit their methods for measuring viewability of buyers’ ads on publisher placements long before viewability became a buzzword in today’s media.

3MS is a cross-industry coalition committed to developing brand-building digital metrics and cross-platform measurement solutions. The first principle of the initiative is to help the industry shift from currency based on “served” impressions to currency based on “viewable” impressions.

In November of last year, the MRC issued an advisory that outlines some of the limitations in measuring viewability and asked the buying and selling communities to refrain from engaging in transactions that involve viewable impressions as a currency, ideally, until the issues can be addressed. 

In Q4 2013, the MRC will lift its advisory “and the floodgates will open,” advised Ivie in a review of the MRC timeline for addressing viewability measurement. At that time, the marketplace will move on, with or without us.

Viewability measurement is fragmented
As already mentioned, several marketplace vendors are coming to the MRC to request audits on their methods for measuring viewability. The MRC is legally required to honor such requests. However, with no formal guidelines describing this new counting procedure, each company is validated against the MRC’s own stringent methodological standards and then reviewed against the company’s audited abilities.

The proliferation of methodologies for measuring viewability is actually a good thing, in that it showcases the industry’s ability to innovate and adjust to the needs of the market. However, these different methodologies represent a fragmented marketplace. Fragmentation in digital advertising has always created friction and interfered with the flow of advertising budgets.

Compounding the issue is the high level of variability across vendors. In a test on 22 live campaigns involving more than 3 billion impressions, viewable rates varied from a high of more than 78% to a low of 7%. Several reasons exist for not being able to measure viewability, but the leading cause of such variable rates was the inability to measure from within cross-domain iframes.

SafeFrame is a window into viewability
A cross-domain iframe is essentially the webpage of one server inside a container on the webpage of a different server. Measuring viewability under these conditions is the technical equivalent of trying figure out where you are in the world from within a sound and lightproof box—a task that is nearly impossible without the ability to escape the box or communicate with someone outside of it.

Some methodologies can circumvent the iFrame to a limited extent, however, with regard to current accreditations on viewability conducted by the MRC, Ivie notes that “NONE of the vendors can see ALL of the inventory.” 

While no amount of technology or distinct methodologies will likely ever be able to measure ALL inventory, the 2012 release of IAB SafeFrame 1.0 can help companies close the gap on viewable variability. 

IAB SafeFrame is a cross-domain iframe with an API that enables communication between the content in the SafeFrame and the hosting webpage. With SafeFrame in place, security is maintained while communication lifts limitations on functionality, including the ability to measure viewability on ads. 
Explaining that future accreditations on viewability will be based on a standard currently in development, Ivie predicts that SafeFrame will likely play an important role in many successful accreditations.

Challenges exist
IAB SafeFrame is a long-awaited solution to addressing issues clouding viewability measurement in cross-domain iframes. Once publishers have implemented SafeFrame, they can achieve transparency while maintaining control over the iframe-contained content served to their pages. Ad servers or vendors can also measure viewability with SafeFrame but must develop functionality to take advantage of the SafeFrame API.

The IAB has identified 3 key challenges the marketplace faces as we enter a phase of SafeFrame adoption.

1. Complexity for publishers with multiple properties: For publisher companies that own multiple properties, implementing SafeFrame across all sites is a time-consuming task made more complex by the fact that each site may operate differently. 

To address this challenge:
  • Focus on implementing SafeFrame on high-value properties first
  • Consider working with your sell-side ad server to implement SafeFrame to simplify implementation so that all you need is a JavaScript tag you can distribute to your sites that in turn implements the SafeFrame
2. Lack of testing tools for vendors: Buy-side vendors (viewability and rich media) won’t be able to capture SafeFrame data until their SafeFrame functionality is properly implemented. Vendors need a testing tool to help them with proper implementation 

To address this challenge:
  • IAB is developing a testing tool vendors can use to test their SafeFrame-enabled tags
  • Create tags that work with the SafeFrame API and test them in IAB’s testing tool when it’s available
3. Lack of established benchmarks: The market needs viewability benchmarks based on test data from SafeFrame enabled environments. Having just been released in February of this year, very few SafeFrame implementations exist for testing. 

To address this challenge:
  • Publishers should implement SafeFrame as soon as possible and begin collecting data to show what they can measure with SafeFrame
  • Vendors should use SafeFrame tags with publishers who have implemented SafeFrame and begin     collecting data that they can compare with publishers
  • Select publishers and vendors should consider working with 3MS and the MRC to re-run pilot tests that establishes comparative benchmarks to those gathered in the aforementioned MRC viewability tests
IAB can help
Ivie noted that the MRC can help a little, but that the IAB can help a lot and companies should lean on the IAB to move forward with SafeFrame adoption.

To move forward, the IAB is calling for participation in the following:
  • Publishers: Help the IAB define a “Publisher Onboarding Guide” for the industry to use as they work toward SafeFrame implementation
  • Vendors: Create tags that work with the SafeFrame API and test them in the IAB’s testing tool when it’s available
  • Publishers and Vendors: Contact MRC about participating in a round of viewability testing where SafeFrame is used. Particularly useful in these tests are companies that have already participated in earlier rounds of testing where SafeFrame wasn’t used
There is a train coming; we can’t stop it, but at least with SafeFrame you’ll be able to see it. 

About the Author 


Steve Sullivan (with contribution from Katie Stroud)

Steve Sullivan is VP of Advertising Technology at the IAB, and on Twitter at @SteveSullivan32.


Are You Customer-Obsessed?

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Consumers today are setting the pace for online marketers and brands, and the digital media technology is out there to listen to customer cues and respond with relevant, engaging communications. But what does it take to be truly customer-obsessed? Is the industry at large living up to the promises of real-time interactive marketing? The unfortunate answer is no. At least at this time.

This week, PulsePoint, in collaboration with the CMO Club and Digiday, announced the results of a groundbreaking study that examines the digital marketing capabilities, top challenges and priorities of nearly 400 senior marketers, agency executives and publishers.


From a capability standpoint, the large majority of survey respondents were comfortable executing multi-channel campaigns across two or more channels. However, the challenges start occurring when marketers are tasked with applying lessons from one channel to improve efforts in another channel (cross-channel). The wake up call revealed by the survey results is that, across the board, a majority of marketers, agencies and publishers lack the capabilities to execute real-time interactive marketing.

In an environment where consumers are freely flowing and engaging with ads and other content on their own terms across channels and devices, the industry at large must evolve to keep pace. The lack of real-time efficiencies is creating a massive “digital divide” between consumers and the current marketing practices used to reach and engage them.

So what is the problem? What are the barriers to this evolution? When we began this research, we hypothesized that we would find inconsistencies and gaps in the capabilities and priorities amongst ecosystem players. As it turns out, this research shows that the industry is largely aligned. However, for an industry claiming to be as customer-obsessed as we are, these results show that we are missing the “relevance mark” set by consumers - largely due to two key challenges.

Overwhelming Complexity
We’ve all seen the LUMA ad-tech chart. The fragmented direct marketing landscape of point-solutions from the sell-side to the demand-side add overwhelming complexity to cross-channel execution. Because the industry is currently focused on dealing with complex technologies and multiple channels and platforms, ecosystem players are often operating in functional silos. Further, this overwhelming complexity, coupled with the functional silos used to manage various channels and point solutions, robs bandwidth and results in the consumer perspective often getting lost.

Lack of Unified Measurement
Unified measurement (something the ANA, 4As, and IAB are all actively pursuing through the Making Measurement Make Sense initiative) enables the tracking of consumer journeys and connected customer experiences - this is critical to advance from multi-channel to cross-channel marketing, and the industry at large is currently lacking this core capability. In addition to unified measurement to help marketing, agencies and publishers “connect the dots” for unified consumer-customer views across channels, there is also a need for more full-funnel thinking and better attribution beyond the last click. Planning, executing and measuring from the perspective of targeting and tracking consumers throughout the funnel, enables a broader, longer-term view of digital marketing programs, targeting methods, and brand engagements.

It’s time to further evolve. In this regard, the study uncovered two underlying factors that in large part account for effectiveness, and, when applied in union, work together to overcome the challenges of complexity and lack of unified measurement. Real-time intelligence and unified automation are two evolutionary forces that provide the basis to enhance digital marketing execution, and thus, help bridge the current digital divide.

These two forces are reshaping the digital landscape and, over time, will enable the industry to consolidate around smart “end-to-end” solutions and evolve towards more real-time adaptive markets, with real-time efficiencies, transparency and fair value discovery. These forces will allow the industry at large to truly become customer-obsessed and reach the “relevance mark” set by digitally-empowered consumers.

To see the full results, you can visit the IAB member insights & research library or download from

About the Author

sp_lendenmann_karl.jpg Dr. Karl Lendenmann

As vice president of marketing and analytics at PulsePoint, Dr. Karl Lendenmann is responsible for driving company-wide best practices in key areas that increase the relevance, engagement and value of PulsePoint programs for both advertisers and publishers.


2012 is fast becoming the year of Sight, Sound and Motion, if you haven’t already noticed. The proliferation of tablets is helping to fuel the flames around the globe. But the content bonfire is happening beyond any of their borders.

This year opened with “the money shot” in entertainment — the Super Bowl, followed by the Jeremy Lin “Linsanity” passing the ball to the Hunger Games. Continuing with that sports analogy, The Olympics will soon drive down the middle and setup the assist to the summer political conventions rabidly known for brand spin and personal storytelling.

Fresh premium entertainment content premiering on powerhouse webcasters holds the potential to redefine TV this fall and it is anyone’s guess what the holiday season will hold for innovation in retailing, travel, and shopping. As Occupy Wall Street and Arab Spring leaders will tell you, the revolution will be streamed. So where does that leave those of us in commercial messaging?


Last week at the IAB Digital Video Agency Day we scratched the surface of the some of the thorniest question facing us as an industry: Measurement, Creativity, and the role of Digital Video (“DV”) in media planning. For various reasons each of these questions currently impedes the sector’s growth potential. For some it is a matter of reducing friction in supply chain, for others, the story lies in unlocking the potential of the medium to speak with a voice we don’t hear in other platforms. A few themes emerged, and I had three key takeaways:

1. DV needs to be a higher priority in media planning.

It is a front line strategy, not an afterthought. Savvy marketers understand that translating a :30 into a :15 rarely unlocks the platform’s optimal potential. Leading creative executions from Droga5, HUGE, M ss ng P eces, Anomaly, and Blast Radius displayed cutting edge visuals with an eye toward biometrics, social media, and gameification — trends that will define the space. Marketers are increasingly seeing themselves as content producers who need to fill the pipes every week — if not daily — with fresh content on Facebook Pages and fan blogs. Agencies continue to be the ad sherpa into the heights of the unknown reaches of social marketing. The need for greater innovation was urgent and clear.

2. Measurement is a blueprint, tools build the house.

We must improve measurement, and work with publishing partners who control differentiated technology. Not only in theory, but in practice. Making Measurement Make Sense (3MS) laid out the market case for a shift toward a viewable impression and demographic GRP. These concepts, in conjunction with upcoming pilots, resonated with audience members desperate to have clearer ROI metric across all media. At times as an industry we tend to get ahead of ourselves, focusing on the wish-list items as opposed to the must-haves. We need to be able to compare apples to apples first, before diving deeper into discussions about Granny Smith versus Red Delicious.

Measurement heavyweights comScore and Nielsen opine on measurement tools and audience tracking. We still have a great deal of ground to cover in that direction, particularly on the mobile front. The MRC will play a large hand regulating the means of this new digital currency. The new coin of the realm must then be considered as legal tender throughout the empire, in order to be successful.

3. Creativity turns heads and wallets.

The price is what you pay, value is what you get - invest in creative and choice media to feature your distinct point-of-view. The flexibility, scale and budget effectiveness of DV allows the medium to be both cavalry and ninja in the attack. The afternoon’s creative showcase underscored this perspective.

We will be debating many of these challenges further at the IAB Digital Video Marketplace this Tuesday, April 10, as we address many of these challenges and strive to drive innovations in the digital video ecosystem. Come join us!

About the Author


Seneca Mudd

Seneca Mudd directs IAB’s programs and member initiatives for the Digital Video, Networks and Exchanges, Social Media, and Multicultural Committees and Councils. He specializes in industrial solutions, market development, and revenue advocacy among the advertising agency community. He can be reached on Twitter @muddzhlinger.


Buzzing About Measurement Standards

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There is definitely something to be said for the industry blogosphere, the trade publications and the thinkers out there contributing ideas. Recently, there have been a number of pieces about ad impressions and changes in the works including IAB’s involvement in creating new standards and comScore’s introduction of verifiable impressions.

A perspective that is extraordinarily consistent with Making Measurement Make Sense (3MS) appears to be developing. 3MS is the ecosystem wide partnership among IAB, ANA and the 4A’s that seeks to define standard metrics for planning, buying and evaluating digital advertising in a cross platform media world. 3MS aims to make digital advertising more brand hospitable and to facilitate the right brand media allocations by providing tools that marketers, agencies and sellers need to improve workflow and transact more easily.


Larry Allen of 24/7 Real Media, published a piece in Business Insider, We Need A New Way to Define Ad Impressions. Much of what he puts forth was and is under consideration throughout the 3MS process. The notion of capturing duration of impression in view is one example and is part of the first phase of pilot testing currently underway. That is, the ecosystem recognized that duration is an important metric. Moreover, if display advertising impressions are going to be comparable to television, we need a solution for measuring duration in view.

Larry writes about the imperative of developing metrics that capture what is uniquely interactive about display ads and how those metrics can contribute to assessing the value of an ad. All of these, too, are part of 3MS. There are five guiding principles that are at the heart of 3MS and five solutions that are the soul of 3MS. We believe in the principles and we believe in the testing and sequencing of the solutions.

For now, we are testing the definition of a viewable impression and the inputs for calculating GRP’s and reach and frequency. We are also testing an ad classification and taxonomy that will create standard constructs and dimensions of ad units. This will facilitate both transactions and developing evaluation metrics.

The fourth and fifth solutions, standardizing interactivity metrics that matter for brand building and improving the measurement of online ad effectiveness for brands, will be the focus of the next stage of Making Measurement Make Sense. We need the foundation of an accepted definition of a viewable ad impression that can be accurately counted and assessed for its impacts on inventory, site optimization, consumer experiences, etc.

Larry and everyone else in the ecosystem just need to hold tight a little longer. We’re getting there. But until then, please keep on thinking and writing — and please feel free to check in with us!

About the Author


Sherrill Mane

Sherrill Mane is SVP, Research, Analytics and Measurement, at the IAB.