The largest online ad industry trade group is pushing for new ad metrics to become standardized by the first quarter of 2013. The primary goal: begin to phase out reliance on the ad impressions-served metric and replace it with the viewable impressions metric. Also by that time the Interactive Advertising Bureau and its partners in the initiative expect advertisers and publishers will be using the eGRP metric, which industry players hope will complement the viewable impression metric with a more audience-focused gauge that speaks to brand advertisers.
It was over a year ago that the IAB came together with The Association of National Advertisers and American Association of Advertising Agencies to introduce its sweeping project, overseen by the Media Ratings Council, a respected third party with a long history accrediting advertising and media firms.
Pilot testing for the viewable impression is near completion, said the organizations during a webinar held this afternoon. The groups also said the creation of a viewable-based eGRP is underway, in addition to the development of a new taxonomy to classify digital ads as they move into this next evolutionary stage.
The viewable impression metric would measure only ads that are actually seen by a user, rather than measuring all impressions served even when users don’t bother to scroll down to see them. The idea is to count only real exposures of ads online. “The notion of viewable impressions is accepted by buyers and sellers alike,” said Sherrill Mane, SVP, industry services for the IAB, during today’s webinar.
The coalition is still working out the details, said Mane. For instance, it remains unclear how long an ad needs to be visible to a user for it to count as a viewable impression. “We are proposing a minimum of…one second,” she said, noting, “As we go forward, we will learn about how that impacts different kinds of ad formats.”
Another wrinkle: video ads, which are becoming increasingly popular among advertisers and lucrative for web publishers. “We also recognize that those parameters would not apply to a video ad, so we are actually also in the process of gathering information and trying to come up with what we think are reasonable parameters,” said an MRC representative.
Along with the MRC and advertising and publishing industry bodies, the “Making Measurement Make Sense” project involves Bain and Company, a global management consulting firm. Private equity firm Bain Capital, a spinoff of Bain and Company, was once run by Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, and has been vilified by the left. The two are separate entities. Some reports indicate that Romney also once led Bain and Company as interim CEO.
UPDATE: This story originally incorrectly suggested Bain and Company and Bain Capital are the same firm.