IAB Teams With MMA on First Guidelines for Mobile Ad Metrics

The Interactive Advertising Bureau on Tuesday unveiled its first crack at a set of guidelines for measuring mobile advertising, developed in tandem with the Mobile Marketing Association.

The primary goal of the guidelines is to establish standards for defining and measuring a mobile ad impression. They also encourage mobile Web ad servers to have their impression counts audited by an independent third party.

Ultimately, the IAB hopes that industry adoption of the guidelines will ease the way for advertisers to buy mobile advertising, much like the group’s widely adopted 2005 guidelines for Web advertising did for the display market.

But measuring mobile advertising – at least for now – is a bit trickier than measuring Web ads, said Joe Laszlo, the IAB’s director of research. That complexity prolonged the time it took to produce the guidelines, and will likely come into play as the 30-day comment period begins as well.

“The way that mobile networks handle data is different, and mobile device capabilities are different,” he said. “They can’t quite handle things like cookies the way PCs can, and mobile network operators play a much larger role in passing along data, which makes it harder to measure.”

The IAB-MMA task force, which began its work in summer 2009, also had to contend with “an increasing number of companies that specialize in mobile media that don’t have a lot of Web or traditional media heritage,” said Laszlo. “We spent lots of time explaining to those companies what the guidelines would be for and about, why they’re important, and what value they would bring to the industry.”

Those companies, as well as anyone else with an interest in mobile advertising, can weigh in on the guidelines during the public comment period, which runs through December 10. The IAB hopes to have the final set of guidelines ready by March 2011.

Cameron Clayton, SVP of mobile and digital applications at The Weather Channel, as well as co-chair of the IAB Mobile Advertising Committee and a member of the board of directors of the MMA, encouraged adoption of the guidelines in a written statement, saying they would “assure marketers and agencies that they are getting what they pay for when they purchase mobile Web advertising.”

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