Media Rating Council Sets New Standards for Viewable Display Impressions

The Media Rating Council (MRC) – the industry association that audits and accredits media measurement services – has lifted its Viewable Impression Advisory for display advertising, allowing the industry to start transacting on viewability metrics for the first time.

This update aims to lubricate the industry transition from a digital advertising currency based on served impressions, to one based on viewable impressions. Previously, there were a number of issues that were hindering the transition, including the inability of many measurers to determine the viewability of a significant percentage of ads. Additionally, numerous vendors were using various viewability measurements. Today’s move by the MRC serves to mend these issues. 

In collaboration with the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), the MRC also released guidelines defining what “viewability” means. For example, according to the new standards, 50 percent of an ad’s pixels must be viewable for a minimum of one second in order to be deemed as viewable.

Meanwhile, the guidelines provide definitions of other viewable impression measurement-related terminologies, including viewable browser space, invalid impressions, and fraudulent impressions. They also specify measurement requirements.

According to David Gunzerath, senior vice president and associate director at MRC, the new standards will bring digital advertising to a stronger place, as they improve the quality of measurement and allow marketers to better understand the effectiveness of their online advertising.

Now marketers should be able to purchase display ads based on new viewability metrics. However, since the final parameters for defining a viewable video ad were just determined in January of this year, the MRC has suggested a gating period of an additional 90 days before marketers start transacting on viewable impressions for online video ads.

The MRC issued its first advisory on November 12, 2012, to identify issues in transaction on viewable impressions. Currently it has accredited 11 viewable impression measurers, including RealVu, comScore, vCE-Validation, DoubleVerify, Google Active Viewspider.io (acquired by Google), Integral Ad ScienceAlentySizmekMoat, WebSpectator, and Glam Media.

After the advisory was lifted today, the three industry associations that founded the 3MS initiative – the IAB, the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s), and the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) – launched a YouTube video to highlight the importance of the MRC’s new standards for viewable display advertising. Watch this below.

Additionally, following the MRC’s announcement, media audience measurement giant Nielsen unveiled a global deal to expand Integral Ad Science’s viewability data within Nielsen’s Online Campaign Ratings (OCR).