Keeping Cross-Platform Measurement Flexible for Users

From the OpenAP/VAB JIC initiative to YouTube's proposed cross-media measurement principles, the industry is supplying -- at a critical time -- the attention and focus needed to the important issues associated with cross-media measurement.

The Media Rating Council is very encouraged by these efforts -- particularly that the principles put forth by Google/YouTube and those positions expressed by OpenAP/VAB are both significantly aligned with relevant standards issued by the MRC and that they also include the need for MRC compliance and accreditation readiness.

We believe this is largely due to the strength and clarity of the principles stated by the World Federation of Advertisers/Association of National Advertisers, as well as to the general, ongoing learning associated with industry processes.

The one area, however, where there appears to be need for greater consensus is the role of MRC viewable impressions in these initiatives, as well as the use of other types of information related to the context surrounding advertising. 



MRC approaches this question from the perspective of enabling the availability of robust cross-platform measurement, and not from a desire to dictate or determine what should constitute the currency metric(s). Establishing the currency is something that buyers and sellers should, and ultimately will, decide upon.

In addition, when considering this issue, data users should keep in mind that MRC viewable impressions do not (and were never intended to) represent an audience metric, but rather were conceptualized as an initial stage of recognizing the basics of “opportunity to see,” to which other parameters could be added in a cross-media process to reflect audience, real reach and frequency, all in a privacy-compliant manner.

As it relates to what should be included in cross-platform measurement, our viewpoint is this: the users of cross-media systems should be enabled to consider context parameters as they see fit, rather than have these decisions be pre-ordained for them.

Our cross-media measurement standard was prepared with this orientation. 

With that core principle in mind, we believe:

  • All impressions should be counted and subjected to filtration and cross-media viewable impression determination in line with MRC-published Standards.  
  • Measurement systems should append to that base impression additional information about the relevant context parameters that would be useful to understand more about the circumstances — e.g., duration, duration weighting, size of screen, device type, nature of associated content, etc.
  • The reporting and use of such additional context parameters is expected and strongly encouraged.  However, we do not believe these should be used by the measurement systems to remove or numerically reduce industry standard viewable impressions up-front. 

This approach provides a flexible foundation that can be added to in later stages for additional measurement metrics such as attention and outcomes. 

The industry is making strong progress toward identifying effective cross-platform measurement principles.  As it does, the MRC encourages continued alignment with MRC standards and support for MRC compliance and accreditation readiness.

We urge utilization of both our viewable impressions standard as the foundation for this measurement, while also allowing for the layering of contextual parameters on top of these base counts, as those principles eventually become agreed upon and finalized. 

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