Marketers and advertisers planning digital campaigns should first consider industry desktop and mobile standards. The objective: to make sure potential customers can actually see those ads on the Internet.

That's the hope of officials at the Media Ratings Council (MRC). The independent industry body collaborates with other national digital advertising associations to set industry viewability standards.

First came desktop standards. This week, the MRC announced interim guidance on mobile ads.

Working Toward Mobile

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"These thresholds were derived after extensive analysis and research related to interaction and traffic in desktop environments," said George Ivie, CEO of the 50-year-plus-old, New York City-based Media Ratings Council.

Mobile Viewability represents the next phase of the digital advertising measurement standards, he explained. He defined them as guidelines specific to the measurement and reporting of viewable impressions in mobile web browsers and mobile in-application environments.

Last year, the MRC, in collaboration with the IAB Emerging Innovations Task Force, issued standards for desktop viewability.

The Viewable Ad Impression Measurement Guidelines outline the minimum “opportunity to see” to classify a served impression as viewable.

Viewability simply means the “opportunity to see” a served ad. Mobile viewability refers to the measurement of this activity in a mobile format -- whether that’s a web browser on a mobile device, such as a phone or a tablet or within an application environment on a mobile device.

The interim guidance announced this week on mobile standards include:

  • 50 percent of pixels (large size ads 30 percent) must be in the viewable portion of an Internet browser for a specific minimum amount of time: one continuous second for display ads and two continuous seconds for video ads

Ivie said through research officials learned that not all mobile in-app ads are viewable.

"In the desktop viewability guidelines," Ivie said, "we explicitly noted the need for further study to determine the suitability of those guidelines for mobile viewable impression measurement. Over the period following the issuance of those guidelines, it has become clear to us that certain attributes unique to mobile environments will require special consideration and study."

Ivie hopes the interim guidance for Mobile Viewable Impression measurement provides the digital advertising industry with direction.

The MRC and various industry trade associations, publishers, agencies, advertisers and others will work over the coming months to generate industry discussion and conduct additional research to create permanent guidelines that account for the specific nuances of mobile web environments.


Who should this news affect? Ivie told CMSWire the entire digital advertising industry, including digital publishers, app developers, agencies and marketers/advertisers as well as brands.

Why should they listen to the MRC?

"The MRC’s mission is to secure for the media industry and related users audience measurement services that are valid, reliable and effective," Ivie said.

"Desktop viewability effectively removed monetization of impressions with no 'Opportunity-to-See,' which established a comparable foundation for online audience currency as well as a starting point from which to assess brand message transfer."

The interim guidance on mobile impressions supports the need to expand the benefits of viewability standardization to mobile environments.

"Such efforts," he said, "will allow consistent measurement across desktop and mobile campaigns enhancing validity, reliability and effectiveness of such measurement."

Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic LicenseTitle image by hfb.