A lack of reliable reporting
and measurement has long been cited as a stumbling block to the growth of mobile advertising. In another step toward legitimizing the ad category, Medialets became the latest company to be fully
accredited by the Media Rating Council for adhering to standards issued jointly last year by the MRC, Interactive Advertising Bureau and Mobile Marketing Association.
Apple’s iAd mobile ad network was accredited by the MRC for accurate reporting of impressions and other app interactions, while video ad platform FreeWheel earned a continuation of its MRC
accreditation for dynamic ad measurement in mobile apps. But Medialets is the first third-party mobile to receive MRC accreditation for reporting of display ads in both the mobile Web and in
“This validates that the methods [Medialets] uses to measure are in compliance with our standards, and based on that, the marketplace can have confidence in the
measurement that they get,” said David Gunzareth, senior vice president and associate director of the MRC. “It gives marketers and agencies greater confidence to evaluate their media
spend…and ultimately invest more dollars in mobile.”
For advertisers, the adoption of uniform reporting standards by mobile ad servers and networks should result in fewer
dollars wasted on ads that were never seen by smartphone users. Because of device fragmentation, mobile connectivity issues and other technical reasons, Medialets CEO Eric Litman estimates up to 40%
of ads in mobile campaigns never display properly in front of an end user.
Publishers, however, usually get paid because of the widespread use of “server-side counting,”
meaning that an ad is counted as soon as the impression is requested. But under the MRC standards, mobile ad servers have to adopt “client-side counting,” where an impression is only
counted when an ad actually renders on a device.
Bringing down the discrepancy rate -- the difference between the ads paid for and ads never displayed on a device -- is a key goal in
mobile, as well as desktop. “As more companies become accredited, those discrepancies will come closer together, and won’t be a major factor,” said Gunzareth. He added that the goal
is to bring discrepancy rates under 10%.
In connection with its MRC accreditation, Medialets on Wednesday also announced the launch of a new ad-serving platform called Servo that
promises to create and run mobile campaigns using formats including banners, video, rich media and search. It also allows advertisers to track conversions across the Web and apps and measure
“An advertiser can now know how many people they’ve reached across publishers they’re working with, and attribute them back to an individual
publisher,” said Litman. Plus, he added that MRC accreditation means marketers can bill based on their own ad numbers, rather than relying on publishers as the source of record for campaign
“That absolutely has held back mobile advertising,” he said.
Among other firms going through the accreditation process is Google’s
DoubleClick. Given Google’s dominant role in mobile advertising, its ad-serving unit getting the MRC’s seal of approval would give even more momentum efforts to standardize mobile
measurement. But it’s not a trivial pursuit.
Litman said the entire audit process for Medialets took about about nine months. And while he didn’t disclose the cost,
accreditation can cost more than $100,000. But if it can help generate more mobile ad revenue in the future, he and other mobile executives are betting it’s worth the investment.