Industry to Establish Ad Metadata Standards

  • by , Op-Ed Contributor, November 15, 2020

A recent CIMM Town Hall reviewed the status of establishing a standardized file format for ad metadata including the use of Ad-ID as the primary identifier for ads across both the TV and digital ecosystems. 

Called AMSI, Advertising Metadata Standards Initiative, if achieved this would provide an Ad specifications database building block to the industry for analysis of cross-media measurement plus campaigns based on attribution and ROI.  According to CIMM this initiative is a collaboration between media industry associations and companies to standardize nomenclature, metadata fields and file formats.  They include the ARF, the 4A’s, 9th Decimal, Ad-ID, CIMM, Comscore, IAB/Tech Lab, Innovid, IRI, iSpot, Kantar, LiveRamp, Nielsen, and SMI. 

A critical part of this initiative is Ad-ID a well-established joint venture of the ANA and the 4A’s.  Harold Geller, Executive Director, Advertising Digital Identification LLC (Ad-ID) asked, tongue in cheek, whether Ad-Id could be considered the Rosetta Stone in this initiative.  It certainly has become an industry standard via assigning a unique alpha-numeric code to a commercial asset when it is “born” with 2.5 million ads registered and over 4,000 advertisers using it.  



Vijoy Gopalakrishnan senior vice president/principal, Media Center of Excellence, IRI stressed the value of consistent use of Ad-ID to tag all creative versions, with consistent use of all the metadata listed across all file transmissions (“exposure” omitted).  He suggested that the ultimate achievement would bring: Transparency; Seamless interoperability across the ecosystem; Increased speed and scalability; Reduced costs; and Improved accuracy in cross-media measurement of outcomes.  

If successful, this initiative would ensure that the ads disseminated or delivered to a screen via “the pipe” or “the bird” are precisely and correctly identified.  Consequently, there seems little question that it would drive significant inefficiencies out of the myriad of current systems. 

Of note regarding nomenclature, such a database would not reflect whether the ad was rendered to specifications on the screen – a ‘viewable impression’; whether the target audience could potentially view the ad – a ‘gross impression’ or ‘opportunity- to-see’; or whether the target audience actually had eyes-on (or ears on) the ad – ‘ad exposure’.  These are all subsequent measures of an ad’s journey through the media ecosystem which are addressed by MRC and their Standards. 

Media and the brand creative messages it carries are a relatively small influence on outcomes, however defined, versus other marketing drivers like price, trade and consumer promotions, etc.  Notwithstanding, data quality in media measurement and campaign outcomes analytics should be the best and most meaningful possible.  This initiative clearly will help to take a step in that direction.  

AMSI needs the broad support of the industry to move forward.  Jane Clarke CEO, Managing Director, CIMM would be delighted to hear from you!

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