IAB, MMA and MRC Finalize Measurement Guidelines for ‘Mobile Application’ and ‘Mobile Web’ Advertising

New Standardized Framework for Measuring In-App Ads Addresses the Quality of Impression Counts and Buyer Transparency across Applications

Mobile Web Measurement Guidelines Raise Bar for Quality Ad Metrics

NEW YORK – With mobile advertising rapidly evolving, there is a critical need for standards and guidelines to unify the industry and maximize its potential for growth and development. To address that requirement and position the mobile ecosystem for optimal growth, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) and the Media Rating Council (MRC) announced the final measurement guidelines for “Mobile Application” and “Mobile Web” advertising. The two complementary guidelines provide a benchmark for mobile advertising to ensure that media companies, networks, ad servers and other active members of the industry deliver high quality data to ad buyers.

“Finalizing these guidelines is the culmination of a tremendous amount of effort and input from the industry leaders who are incredibly passionate about bringing a higher level of standardization and accountability to mobile advertising”

The new and updated guidelines were drafted by MRC and include input from dozens of IAB and MMA members, the sales and media buying leaders from across the digital media industry, who volunteered to improve mobile advertising metrics and, ultimately, combat inaccuracies that have the potential to slow the growth of the mobile channel.

“Finalizing these guidelines is the culmination of a tremendous amount of effort and input from the industry leaders who are incredibly passionate about bringing a higher level of standardization and accountability to mobile advertising,” said Richy Glassberg, COO, Medialets, member of both the IAB Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence and the MMA. “Medialets is already seeking accreditation with the MRC for compliance with these guidelines because we strongly believe, with these new frameworks in place, mobile advertising will continue unabated on its current, rapid rate of growth.”

“Advertising across the internet is complex enough, but once you add a mobile component there is a lot more discussion and industry alignment needed to establish actionable guidelines that work across this complex industry,” said Larry Moores, Vice President, Analytics and Reporting, Opera Mediaworks, a division of Opera Software which is a member of both the IAB Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence and the MMA. “Eliminating confusion and friction when it comes to mobile ad measurement will enable marketers to trust their investment in mobile and elevate its place in their marketing mix. The collective effort surrounding the guidelines for ad measurement with mobile web and applications is a testament to the participating associations’ commitment to driving this industry to scale.”

Both guidelines went through public comment periods. While the “Mobile Web” guidelines did not result in a great deal of change to the final version, feedback generated by “Mobile App” guidelines did inspire several revisions, including:

  • A clearer mandate that only client-side counting is allowed for mobile application ad impressions
  • A requirement that Software Development Kits (SDKs) that handle ad loading ensure that impression counting does not happen prematurely
  • A clear end-date requirement for reporting/counting ad impressions delivered/viewed while the app is offline
  • More explicit guidance around “auto-refresh” – how frequently an application should be permitted to change the ads displayed within the app
  • A caveat that HTML5 may impact how and when ads are counted and bears close examination by auditors.

“With ad technologies developing at an accelerated pace, measurement of advertising in the mobile environment has been challenged,” said George W. Ivie, Executive Director and CEO, MRC. “Now that there is clear and specific industry measurement guidance in place, both buyers and sellers of mobile advertising will have enhanced confidence that the performance and effectiveness of campaigns can be consistently and accurately measured, which will lead to greater accountability and increased investment by marketers in the mobile space.”

The “Mobile Application Advertising Measurement Guidelines” are available for download at iab.net/inappguidelines /mmaglobal.com/files/MobileAppsAdGuidelines1FINAL.pdf and the “Mobile Web Advertising Measurement Guidelines” are available separately atiab.net/mobilewebmeasurementguidelines / mmaglobal.com/files/MobileWebMeasurementGuidelines2FINAL.pdf.

About the IAB

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) is comprised of more than 500 leading media and technology companies that are responsible for selling 86% of online advertising in the United States. On behalf of its members, the IAB is dedicated to the growth of the interactive advertising marketplace, of interactive’s share of total marketing spend, and of its members’ share of total marketing spend. The IAB educates marketers, agencies, media companies and the wider business community about the value of interactive advertising. Working with its member companies, the IAB evaluates and recommends standards and practices and fields critical research on interactive advertising. Founded in 1996, the IAB is headquartered in New York City with a Public Policy office in Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit iab.net.

About the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA)

The Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) is the premier global non-profit trade association representing all players in the mobile marketing value chain. With more than 750 member companies, the MMA is an action-oriented organization with global focus, regional actions and local relevance. The MMA’s primary focus is to establish mobile as an indispensable part of the marketing mix. The MMA works to promote, educate, measure, guide and protect the mobile marketing industry worldwide. The MMA’s global headquarters are located in the United States and it has regional chapters including North America (NA), Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), Latin America (LATAM), and Asia Pacific (APAC) branches. For more information, please visit mmaglobal.com.

About the Media Rating Council (MRC)

The MRC is a non-profit Industry association established in 1964 comprised of leading television, radio, print and Internet companies, as well as advertisers, advertising agencies and trade associations whose goal is to ensure measurement services that are valid, reliable and effective. Measurement services desiring MRC Accreditation are required to disclose to their customers all methodological aspects of their service; comply with the MRC’s Minimum Standards For Media Rating Research; and submit to MRC-designed audits to authenticate and illuminate their procedures. In addition, the MRC membership actively pursues research issues they consider priorities in an effort to improve the quality of research in the marketplace. Currently, approximately 85 syndicated research products are audited by the MRC. For more information, visit mediaratingcouncil.org.