Mobile Ad Measurement Rules Finalized

The Interactive Advertising Bureau and Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) on Thursday issued final measurement guidelines for mobile application and mobile Web advertising in conjunction with the Media Rating Council (MRC).

Drafted by the MRC, the new and updated guidelines received input from dozens of IAB and MMA members and are aimed at streamlining the mobile advertising process while eliminating inaccuracies that could hamper the industry’s growth.

The mobile Web ad measurement guidelines, first released last November, outline requirements, such as client-side counting for mobile Web ad impressions to increase consistency with computer-based ad measurement and help to reduce discrepancies in mobile impression counts. While the rules for mobile Web measurement were left largely unchanged during the public comment period, those for mobile apps saw several revisions. They include:

*A clearer mandate that only client-side counting is allowed for mobile application ad impressions

*A requirement that Software Development Kits that handle ad loading ensure that impression counting does not happen prematurely

*A clear end-date requirement for reporting/counting ad impressions delivered/viewed while the app is offline

*More explicit guidance around “auto-refresh” – how frequently an application should be permitted to change the ads displayed within the app

*A caveat that HTML5 may impact how and when ads are counted and bears close examination by auditors.

“Now that there is clear and specific industry measurement guidance in place, both buyers and sellers of mobile advertising will have enhanced confidence that the performance and effectiveness of campaigns can be consistently and accurately measured, which will lead to greater accountability and increased investment by marketers in the mobile space,” stated George W. Ivie, the MRC’s executive director and CEO.

Mobile rich media provider Medialets, a member of the IAB’s Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence and the MMA, is among ad firms currently going through the MRC accreditation process for compliance with the guidelines. Apple’s iAd in May became the first mobile ad network to be fully accredited by the MRC for adhering to the standards developed by the IAB and MMA.

“Finalizing these guidelines is the culmination of a tremendous amount of effort and input," said Medialets COO Richy Glassberg. He noted industry leaders are passionate about "bringing a higher level of standardization and accountability to mobile advertising."

A lack of standardized metrics and reporting has long been blamed for slowing the growth of mobile advertising. Even so, the IAB earlier this week released data showing global mobile ad revenue increased 83% last year to $8.9 billion from $5.3 billion. The IAB earlier this year said U.S. mobile ad revenue in 2012 more than doubled to $3.4 billion.

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