IAB Members Near Measurement Compliance; Yahoo! Bows Own Platform

Two separate announcements this morning suggest progress is being made in the quest to give advertisers better measurement of online campaigns.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) said today that member companies with proprietary ad serving platforms are on track to comply with impression measurement guidelines the group formed late last year. Simultaneously, Yahoo said it has implemented a new ad measurement and reporting platform intended to bring its own ad reporting practices into line with those guidelines.

The IAB will work with the Media Ratings Council (MRC) and other auditing firms to assist the certification process for members with proprietary ad serving platforms.

CNET, Univision, Weather.com and Yahoo have all completed their compliance with the guidelines, according to the association. Those that have yet to comply but are on track to do so by early 2006 include Walt Disney Internet Group, Atlas, MSN, AOL, Accipiter, Zedo, DoubleClick and several others.

The estimated cost to these companies of complying with guidelines is reportedly a flat fee of around $125,000 to receive certification, with an additional fee charged for the use of a spider to crawl the site. An executive at one second-tier ad serving company expressed concern about the cost to comply with the guidelines. He declined to be identified for this story.

The IAB, meanwhile, says the verification of impression counts is absolutely vital to the health of online publishing.

“Marketers and agencies have demanded we get validation of our numbers,” said Greg Stuart, IAB president and CEO. “Every other industry has certified audited numbers. What makes us unique is that generally there is a third party provider of that data. In our case, the data have to come from a few select companies. We don’t have a Nielsen measuring impressions.”

Simultaneously, Yahoo said today it had developed an ad impression measurement platform of its own, which — not coincidentally — brings the portal into compliance with the IAB guidelines.

Yahoo will now only count and report ad impressions actually seen by users, the company said.

Yahoo’s move and the IAB program are intended to allay growing advertiser concerns about the accurate measurement of campaigns, which has become more important as marketers increase their online spends.

“We believe Yahoo’s new platform raises the bar significantly for media measurement by employing a standard that is not available in any other media – to measure even more accurately if an advertisement has been viewed by a consumer,” said Todd Teresi, Yahoo’s VP of operations, in a statement. “By implementing consistent industry measurement standards, we can focus even more intently on building great marketing campaigns for customers.”

The platform has been already been deployed on its U.S. sites, and will be made available across its global network by early 2006. It has been certified by the Media Ratings Council (MRC).

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