New In-App Ad Rules, Nielsen Debuts Mobile Brand Effect

New guidelines governing measurement of ads within mobile applications were issued today by the Interactive Advertising Bureau, the Mobile Marketing Association, and the Media Rating Council for public comment.

As with the updated mobile Web guidelines released in November, the new set of rules for in-app ads require client-side counting of impressions to ensure consistency with computer-based ad tracking and to help reduce discrepancies in impression counts.

The proposed new guidelines also provide a framework for determining the quality of ad analytics and completeness of disclosures, as well as eliminating duplication and enhancing impression-tracking accuracy. They also define terms, such as Dynamic In-Application Ads, Event Based Ads, Pre-Fetch Ads and an App Session.

“With mobile becoming a key part of brand marketers’ ad-buying strategies, it is critical that we establish clearly defined principles for measuring both mobile web and in-app ads,” said Anna Bager, vice president and general manager of the IAB’s Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence. “These guidelines will help drive mobile to scale and allow for in-app advertising to evolve and mature.”



The guidelines also address the importance of “viewable impressions,” while not yet applying that tracking method to in-app ads. The Making Measurement Make Sense (3MS) initiative has established the standard in which a viewable impression is defined as at least 50% visible to the user for at least one second.

In a related step, Nielsen on Wednesday announced extending its measurement product that gauges the impact of TV and online ads to mobile apps. Nielsen Brand Effect Mobile will report on in-app campaign performance against traditional brand metrics including awareness, attitude, favorability and purchase intent.

The new offering, endorsed by the MMA, works across iOS, Android and Windows devices. It’s already being used by firms, including app analytics provider Flurry, ad network YuMe and Zynga. Nielsen's new mobile service was first reported by Ad Age.

Gartner has projected mobile advertising, including in-app advertising, will increase 16% from $9.8 billion in 2012 to $11 billion globally this year.

The public comment on the “Mobile Application Advertising Guidelines” will run through April 5. Comments are accepted via email at and


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