Digital Video Ad Measurement Guidelines

In a continued effort to lend efficiency to the online ad creation and media buying communities and to foster an environment of open dialogue on outstanding issues and concerns, the IAB’s Digital Video Committee and Measurement Task Force have developed a set of Digital Video Ad Measurement Guidelines. As digital video proliferates, the interactive industry recognizes the importance of delivering a standardized set of measurement guidelines earlier rather than later so that infrastructure development and business practices can be informed at the earliest stage.

These Guidelines are intended to further supplement the Ad Campaign Measurement and Audit Guidelines released in 2004, which details the standard for counting an online ad impression. Specifically, digital video ad measurement guidelines will determine at what point a digital video ad is counted. A “Digital Video Ad” is defined as an ad that may appear before, during, and after a variety of content including streaming video, animation, gaming, and music video content in a player environment. This definition includes Digital Video Ads that appear in live, archived, and downloadable streaming content.

With the steady and aggressive growth of digital video, a need for measurement guidelines for video ads within a digital video content experience has become clear. These guidelines have been reviewed by the AAAA’s Digital Video Innovation and Interactive Marketing and New Media Committees.

The guidelines state that “a valid digital video ad impression may only be counted when an ad counter (logging server) receives and responds to an HTTP request for a tracking asset from a client. The count must happen after the initiation of the stream, post-buffering, as opposed to the linked digital video content itself. Specifically, measurement should not occur when the buffer is initiated, rather measurement should occur when the ad itself begins to appear on the user’s browser, closest to the opportunity to see.”

These guidelines address on-line browser or browser-equivalent based Internet activity that involves streaming video and audio advertising content and are principally applicable to Internet media companies and ad-serving organizations.

Planners and buyers can use these Guidelines to assist in determining the quality of digital video measurements. For companies who have already been audited against the current Guidelines, it is recommended that inclusion of Digital Video Ad Measurement be made upon the next regularly scheduled auditing and certification cycle. These digital video-specific guidelines are intended to be supplemental to the auditing and certification process. For a list of companies who have already been certified or have committed to a “certified-by” date, see here.

For a complete copy of the guidelines, please click here.

Guideline Overview



Ad Counting Client/Browser-initiated
Buffering & Caching Measurement Standard = Opportunity to see
Measurable Activity Includes, but is not limited to:
  • Delivery of a beacon, defined as any piece of content designated as a tracking asset
  • Deliver of a 302 Redirect or html/javascript
  • Delivery of digital video ad content
Reporting Include disaggregated detail for placement, or range of ad types
Filtration Strongest possible combination of both specific identification and activity-based filtration
  • Counting methods
  • Processes/controls