MRC Releases Ad Viewability Test Results

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The Media Rating Council (MRC) has released the results of the third phase of its viewability measurement reconciliation testing. It had conducted two prior phases, which identified requirements for vendors to follow in order to "minimize discrepancies in viewability measurement."

This most recent phase is the final phase of testing. The MRC received data from campaigns accounting for about four billion served ad impressions across a wide range of site, placement, and creative types for both display and video ads. It found that for about two thirds of campaigns, differences between vendors’ viewable impression counts were within what was deemed an "acceptable" range. For the other campaigns, there were differences of more than 10%. They found more variability in smaller campaigns of less than 100,000 viewable impressions.

54% of the difference was a result of differing treatments of mobile viewable impressions in vendors’ reporting, the MRC says, adding that 28% of the difference resulted from vendors treating multi-ad units in different fashions for measurement and reporting purposes.13% of the difference was from differences in whether vendors opt to measure ad traffic served in a campaign by ad servers other than themselves. 2% was from differences noted in the application of certain ad verification processes and the reporting of viewable impressions within said processes, and 3% was from other causes, including issues that were previously identified in earlier testing phases.

The IAB gave us this statement:

From the moment that 3MS (Making Measurement Make Sense), a joint effort by the ANA, the 4As and the IAB, put forth guiding principles of measurement in 2011, the IAB has consistently advocated for viewable impression currency. Every ad should have the opportunity to be seen.

Today, many publishers, agencies and advertisers are employing the MRC standard for a viewable impression along with the IAB Viewability Transaction Principles. This is all good.

The findings from this most recent round of measurement reconciliation work by the MRC support the IAB Viewability Transaction Principles published at the end of 2014. In that document, we cited reasons why measurement and technology improvements would be required to get to 100% Viewability and stated that in 2015, a 70% Viewability threshold for campaigns was a reasonable goal.

In February 2015, at the IAB Annual Leadership Meeting, David Morris, Chief Revenue Officer, CBS Interactive and Chairman of the IAB Board of Directors, called for rapid improvement in the amount of media measured, the ability to measure all ad units and the need for standards and accurate measurement in mobile. Clearly, the MRC analysis demonstrates the need to move faster in solving for the root causes of measurement disparity and inadequacies. The IAB has maintained that 2015 is the year of transition. As long as we continue to make progress in isolating the causes of measurement inconsistency and remedying them, thus achieving accurate measurement, we believe that 2016 will be the year of even greater Viewability and measurability.

Now is the time to move from good to great. The path is mapped out for us: all vendors must follow the MRC recommendations to improve Viewability measurement and they must do so as rapidly as possible (lest they risk losing accreditation).

The IAB looks forward to working with all partners in this dynamic ecosystem to provide 100% viewability, based on accurate measurement, to our advertisers.

You can find an in-depth review of the study here.

Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.