Jessica Anderson: May 2014 Archives

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. 

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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.