Results tagged “MRC” from IABlog

I have been in multiple conversations recently with clients about video fraud, safety and content verification and how those impact video advertising today. I was asked questions such as “How concerned should I be? What’s the best way to prevent issues? What are my options? It became clear to me that while there’s overall concern about the topic of video verification, there’s also a knowledge gap that needs to be addressed. 

So here is a cheat sheet of the things you may want to consider in your solution. All the items below are critical to ensuring maximum protection for your brand. 

1) Media Neutrality
The single most important thing is to ensure that you are not using a solution that is provided by a company that also sells you the media. There are several verification solutions on the market, but many of them are homegrown solutions offered by media sellers that aim to offer insight into the quality, or lack thereof, of their competitors’ inventory. In other words, if Company A sells you media and also tells you, here’s a solution that will verify our media - can you believe that this is a viable solution? To avoid this conflict of interest and ensure that you’re getting accurate information, you should prioritize solutions that are media neutral.

2) Methodology and Technology
It is also crucial that you are confident in and comfortable with the technologies and the methodologies used by your solution of choice. Here are 3 questions you want to ask:
  • What’s your measurable Rate? - This KPI measures the percent of impressions verified out of the total impressions delivered in the campaign. Your goal should be to get as close as possible to a measurable rate of 100%.
  • Are you MRC accredited? - A solution that carries the MRC seal means it is a trusted solution that has gone through a rigorous set of tests and has been validated to meet a certain set of guidelines and industry standards. 
  • What’s your level of publisher transparency and cooperation? - Keeping your media partners in the dark is counterproductive and ensures the negative outcomes you are trying to avoid. Make sure the relevant data is available to your media partners in real time and that you frequently communicate with them to address any issues that may come up. 
3) Fraud Detection and Brand Safety
No verification solution can be considered viable without addressing these two topics. 

Fraud detection identifies whether an impression was generated by a human (i.e. real or not). Fraud has been an ongoing issue since the early days of online advertising with click fraud in search marketing and other CPC driven marketing. Since then, the problem evolved and started affecting CPM based advertising such as display and video. There is already a great deal of industry buzz, so let it suffice to say that there are many forms and tactics of impression fraud as the fraud committers become increasingly sophisticated. That said, there are several companies dedicated to solving the problem with robust solutions to address different methods of fraud. 

Brand safety focuses on identifying areas which are not suitable for brand advertising. An impression may be real and viewable but if the ad ends up appearing next to inappropriate content such as adult material, hate speech, violence, etc. - it can lead to a disaster for a brand which invested years in building its public image.

4) Full Campaign Visibility
You should make sure that you get granular data and reporting that gives you full visibility into what affected the performance of your campaign: How many issues were detected? How were they distributed across your media partners? How many impressions were affected? How did it affect your overall campaign performance? Etc. 

It is also important to combine your display verification and video verification reporting. There are solutions on the market that offer one or the other, and solutions that do both. The advantage in combining both is streamlined operations and the benefit of utilizing display verification data in video verification and vice versa. The more historical data you use, the more accurate your detectionand thus protection, will be.

That said, reporting is only good at detecting the issues and giving you a backward look at things. This is good for understanding what happened and suggesting measures for future campaigns. 

5) Impression Blocking 
The best measure to ensure that issues will actually be prevented is to deny the delivery of the impression. Several techniques exist to do this:
  • Blacklists - A list of domains is created where your ads must not run.  Ads can run on any site that isn’t on the blacklist.
  • Whitelists - A list of domains is created where your ads may run.  Ads must not run on any site that isn’t on the whitelist.
  • Impression-level analysis - Inspecting each impression and determining whether it meets the advertiser’s specific criteria, including brand or message conflict, along with fraud, brand safety, and other requirements, and denying ad delivery when these criteria aren’t met for the specific impression.  
Many advertisers today use black and white lists. However, this is like throwing out an entire container of eggs because one is broken. Making a decision per impression is preferred to making a collective assumption that a domain is always safe or never safe as it ensures fewer bad ad impressions where something went wrong on a trusted site, and more good ad impressions on sites that otherwise might have been totally excluded with a less granular solution. 

6) Page Verification & Video Player Content Verification
It’s important to understand that online video appears on pages composed of two separate pieces - one being the video player where the video content and your video ad appear, and the second being the actual page that hosts the video player. Verification issues can happen both on the page and inside the video player, but most solutions on the market focus on detecting issues within the page only. Often times, the page content may be safe while the video content inside the video player is inappropriate for your brand. You must be able to detect BOTH issues related to the page and issues related to the video content itself. 

6 Steps to Video Campaign Recovery
Once you are over the hump of admitting that fraud and a general lack of visibility represent a threat to your digital campaigns, use this list of six key considerations as your guide to recovery. When the curtain is pulled aside to reveal an industry problem, many technology providers will race to offer proprietary solutions. Not all solutions are created equal, so find a solution that deals with each of these verification considerations for you so that you have the most complete capabilities possible.

About the Author

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Ronnie Lavi

Ronnie Lavi is vice president, product, at Innovid, a technology platform for delivering immersive video advertising anywhere. Ronnie is a digital advertising technology veteran with nearly a decade of product development and product marketing experience.



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. 

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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 

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Steve Sullivan (with contribution from Katie Stroud)

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