MRC Requires Additional Disclosures In Updated Viewability Guidelines

The Media Rating Council (MRC) this week updated its desktop viewable ad impression measurement guidelines, which were first released about 18 months ago.

There were no sweeping changes made to viewability with the latest update. The most vital part of the standard -- the definition -- remains the same: An ad is still deemed viewable if at least 50% of its pixels are in-view for at least one continuous second for display or two continuous seconds for video.

Instead, the updates appear focused on bridging the gap between the different measurement vendors. The updated guidelines intend to address “technical nuances, and the discrepancies they can cause,” stated George Ivie, executive director and CEO of the MRC.

Importantly, the MRC now requires disclosure when multiple measurement tags are present.

“There are instances where a viewability measurement vendor (Vendor ‘A’ in this example) will choose not to measure those ads that are tagged for viewability measurement or served by another entity, even if Vendor A also has tagged the ad for viewability measurement,” the MRC guidelines read. “While Vendor A is not required to measure the ad in those cases where another viewability measurer’s tracking asset is present or another entity serves the ad, its treatment of such ads should be fully disclosed, and to the fullest extent possible, the effect of this treatment should be quantified for data users, as this practice often can confound the viewability measurement reconciliation process.”

This update is aimed at keeping business objectives -- e.g. objections to measuring an ad that a competitor is also measuring -- from hindering transparency.

The MRC is careful to note that the mobile viewability guidance it issued earlier this year remains in the “interim” stage, and that these latest updates are geared for desktop measurement. The MRC also urges marketers to separately report desktop viewabile impression counts from mobile viewable impression counts.

The full guidelines for desktop viewability measurement can be found here.

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