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Making Measurement Make Sense (3MS)

The Making Measurement Make Sense (3MS)initiative, founded in 2011, by the ANA, 4A's and IAB, is driven by a need across the marketing and advertising industry for clear, standards-based metrics for interactive advertising that are comparable to legacy media and based on the fundamental opportunity for consumers to see online ads. This allows brands to accurately assess the value of all media as they strive to reach the right consumers for their marketing goals. The Media Rating Council (MRC), which serves the marketing industry by securing audience measurement that is valid, reliable and effective plays a leading role in 3MS. Faced with increasingly complex media and evolving consumer behavior on a global scale, the MRC is expanding to assume a more proactive role in standards setting and promoting cross platform analytics.

Below is an update on MRC's advisory on the viewable impression standard.

Media Rating Council Lifts Advisory on Viewable Impressions for Display Ads

March 31, 2014 – New York – The Media Rating Council (MRC) announced today that it has lifted its advisory on Viewable Impressions for display advertising, giving a green light to the industry to begin transacting on the new metric for the first time.

The MRC in collaboration with the IAB's Emerging Innovations Task Force, a large working group consisting of a wide range of industry stakeholders, has released its Viewable Impression Measurement Guidelines, which spell out specific parameters for how viewable impressions should be measured. The Guidelines draft, which has been in the works for more than a year, will be circulated for a 30-day period for public review to ensure broad dissemination and to permit for minor outstanding revisions.

The Guidelines state that 50 percent of pixels must be in the viewable portion of an internet browser for a minimum of one continuous second to qualify as a viewable display impression. The shift from a "served" impression to a viewable impression standard will provide marketers with a more accurate way to quantify their investment and deliver increased value for all parties involved in brand advertising.

"The Viewable Impression metric represents a huge step forward in the online advertising landscape," said George W. Ivie, Executive Director and CEO, MRC. "By adopting this standard for viewable display impressions, the entire marketplace – agencies, marketers and publishers – will benefit from the improved quality and accountability of digital advertising. This shift will ultimately benefit the entire advertising ecosystem by paving the way to better cross-platform campaign planning and analysis."

Because the MRC expected the introduction of viewable impressions as a currency metric to have an immense impact on the complex advertising ecosystem, it first issued an advisory in November 2012 to caution the marketplace about transacting on viewable impressions. This was due to significant measurement issues that existed at the time which prevented a seamless transition from a digital advertising currency based on served impressions to one based on viewable impressions. Now that those issues have been largely resolved, the MRC has lifted the advisory for display advertising. To provide the industry with the opportunity to prepare for the more recently introduced parameters for what will constitute a viewable video impression, the MRC advises a gating period remain in place for transacting on Viewable Video Impressions until June 30, 2014.

The viewable impression for display ads was developed in alignment with the Five Guiding Principles of Digital Measurement outlined by the Making Measurement Make Sense (3MS) initiative. 3MS was founded by the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A's), the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), and the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), driven by a need across the marketing and advertising industry for clear and standards-based metrics for interactive advertising that are comparable to legacy media and based on the fundamental opportunity for consumers to see online ads. The Media Rating Council (MRC) is responsible for setting and implementing measurement standards for the industry as well as auditing and accrediting vendors to verify compliance with the standards. To date, 11 vendors have been accredited by MRC for their viewability solutions.

For more information from 3MS about Viewable Impressions and the Measurement Guidelines, please visit: measurementnow.net.

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About the Media Rating Council (MRC)
The MRC is a non-profit industry association established in 1964 composed 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 Minimum Standards for Media Rating Research and other standards MRC produces; 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 90 research products are audited by the MRC.

About Making Measurement Make Sense (3MS)
Making Measurement Make Sense (3MS) is an initiative founded by the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A's), the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), and the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB). Founded in 2011, the goal of 3MS is to revolutionize the way digital media is measured, planned and transacted across the advertising industry in order to make it a more valuable medium for everyone involved in brand advertising. 3MS works closely with the Media Rating Council (MRC), which is responsible for setting and implementing measurement standards, on five key issues: defining impressions, establishing audience currency; creating a standard classification of ad units; defining ad performance metrics; and establishing brand attitudinal measures. For more information on the 3MS initiative and its goals please visit: measurementnow.net.

Media Contact:
Henrietta Aitken
212-453-2318
henrietta.aitken@fleishman.com

Viewability Advisory Lift FAQ
  1. What does the viewability advisory lift mean?
  2. When the MRC lifted its advisory on the Viewable Impression Guidelines for display ads on March 31, 2014, the advertising ecosystem was given the green light to transact on the Viewable Impression for the first time.
  3. What is the Making Measurement Make Sense initiative and what is its goal?
  4. Making Measurement Make Sense (3MS) is a cross-ecosystem initiative founded by the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A's), the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), and the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB).

    The mission of 3MS is to revolutionize the way digital media is measured, planned, and transacted across the advertising industry to make it a more valuable medium for everyone involved in brand advertising. Its goal is to define and drive, across the marketing ecosystem, clear standards-based metrics for interactive advertising that are comparable to legacy media. This is based on the fundamental need for consumers to see online ads for brands to accurately assess the value of all media as they strive to reach the right audiences for their marketing goals.

    The Media Rating Council (MRC) is the independent industry body recognized by 3MS as responsible for setting and implementing measurement standards.
  5. What inspired the creation of 3MS?
  6. Marketing effectiveness depends on smart consumer insights that are meaningful, actionable and predictive. Effective marketing also requires great creative, driven by these consumer insights. Great creative is the inspiration that connects a marketing message to a consumer's heart and mind; the catalyst that engages, captivates and persuades; and the force that propels brand and business growth. Effective marketing must be reliably and consistently accountable, informing us how well we are building brands and growing business.
  7. Why is the viewability advisory lift happening now and why did it take so long?
  8. Making Measurement Make Sense is evolving industry-wide digital media measurement practices based on ecosystem-wide consensus, transparency, and accountability. The initiative requires the participation and agreement of a vast array of individuals from across the expansive advertising and media marketplace. The viewable impression standard is a foundational element of this change.
  9. What exactly is the viewable impression, and why is it important?
  10. Transitioning from a served impression standard to a viewable impression standard is the number one guiding principle in the Five Guiding Principles of Digital Measurement as defined by the 3MS initiative.

    The viewable impression is the key to making digital media measurement comparable to that of legacy media. In television, radio, and print, the consumer has the opportunity to see the ad. Television commercials are rendered on screens. Radio ads are broadcast. This is not always the case with digital media. Foundational industry technologies only measure if an ad has been served, not how fully it rendered on the screen or how long it was present. The viewable impression and the technological innovations that support it, such as IAB SafeFrame, answer this need.

    3MS and the MRC developed guidelines for viewable impressions that state that 50 percent of pixels (whether video or display) must be in the viewable portion of an internet browser for a specific minimum amount of time: 1 continuous second for display ads, and 2 continuous seconds for video ads. These thresholds are supported by a substantial amount of research, some of which existed prior to the development of the concept of a viewable impression, and other research that was developed specifically in conjunction with the viewable impression initiative.

    On March 31, 2014, the MRC lifted its advisory on the Viewable Impression Guidelines for display ads. Now, the advertising ecosystem will be able to start transacting on the Viewable Impression for the first time. To provide the industry with an opportunity to prepare for the more recently introduced viewable video guidelines, the MRC has extended a gating period for transacting on Viewable Impressions for video until June 30, 2014.
  11. Why doesn't the viewability lift address video?
  12. The Viewable Impression Guidelines do account for video advertisements. However, the advisory on viewable video impressions will remain in place, with the gating period ending June 30, 2014. This gives the marketplace the opportunity to assess the potential impact of the viewable video metric, the thresholds for which were introduced more recently into the Guidelines than the parameters for viewable display ads.
  13. How long does it take to accredit a company?
  14. The time the MRC accreditation process takes can vary due to the level of preparedness of the audited company's systems and processes. Once a vendor requests an audit of their methods for measuring viewable impressions, the Media Rating Council is legally required to honor such requests. Each company is validated against the MRC's own stringent methodological standards, existing industry measurement guidance (to the extent to which it applies), and the company's own disclosed measurement capabilities. Also, because MRC is centrally involved in writing new measurement standards to address these areas, as is the case with viewable impression measurement, it also applies its best knowledge of what the forthcoming standard will include in its design and execution of these audits.
  15. How do vendors become MRC accredited?
  16. MRC accredits those companies found to be in compliance with MRC's Standards and other relevant industry measurement guidance (such as IAB's Measurement Guidelines portfolio), based on rigorous audits conducted by independent CPA firms at the behest of MRC. Audits are designed and conducted by the CPA firms in collaboration with the MRC, and audit findings are presented to audit committees comprised of MRC member organizations, who review these findings and make recommendations on accreditation. It is only upon ratification of these recommendations by the MRC Board of Directors that an organization is accredited by the MRC.
  17. Can you give me an example of a company that is serving ads that are viewable and have been accredited by the MRC?
  18. The MRC keeps a list of accredited vendors on its website, MediaRatingCouncil.org. As of March 31, 2014, there were 11 vendors accredited by the MRC for their viewable impression measurements, and the list will continue to grow as the standard is adopted across the industry and more vendors seek accreditation. We encourage the industry to continue to check the list of accredited vendors to ensure that they are trading with vendors who are in compliance with the standard.
  19. Who's going to drive the change and how will that be convincing enough to persuade the industry?
  20. The MRC is responsible for overseeing the implementation and adoption of the viewability standards. MRC does this by leading the development of the Viewable Impression Guidelines, and conducting audits and accreditation assessments against those Guidelines of measurement organizations that voluntarily seek MRC accreditation of their products. 3MS was formed in response to an overwhelming cross-industry need to create standards and uniformity and we believe that the industry will begin to adopt and transact on these standards. The marketplace will naturally evolve as vendors choose to adopt the standard and become accredited by the MRC.
  21. How will you handle those companies that choose not be accredited or those who have not adopted the standard?
  22. MRC accreditation is a completely voluntary process. Companies choose to have their products considered for MRC accreditation for a variety of reasons, including marketplace demand for such independent third party validation. Through this process, MRC helps the digital advertising industry progress and improve the way digital media is measured, planned and transacted.
  23. Does the advisory lift mean anything, legally?
  24. MRC issued the advisory based on the best information it had at the time to caution the marketplace about certain issues that existed with viewable impression measurement. The marketplace is free to buy and sell advertising on whatever basis buyers and sellers choose to transact business. However, in its role as an industry governance body, MRC felt a responsibility to communicate its knowledge to the marketplace, and thereby allow buyers and sellers to be more informed on the subject and act accordingly. Lifting the advisory likewise is a message to the marketplace that MRC believes its concerns around viewable impression measurement have been greatly alleviated since the advisory was first issued.
  25. How will this change the landscape of the industry?
  26. The industry now has a written standard for viewable impressions. The MRC will apply this standard in its viewability audits, and the industry has a green light to plan, transact, and track performance using viewable impressions. The video viewable impression standard is also written, and MRC's gating period for using viewable video impressions as a currency metric will extend until June 30, 2014, to allow for a fuller assessment of its impact.
  27. Will publishers lose money by adopting standards?
  28. Initially the transition will require financial expenses and resources, as this shift in currency will be the catalyst of many changes. In addition, the transition to viewable impressions currency will likely decrease inventory. The decrease in inventory should alter supply demand ratios which may impact the time it takes to get a good handle on forecasting inventory and revenue. However, the end result is expected to be higher CPMs, and a greater investment in digital media from marketers. The upside potential is quite significant. With the viewable impression, marketers will have assurance that their ad has had the opportunity to be seen, and they will also be encouraged to purchase digital media because of its comparability to legacy media. This is an essential shift in order for marketers to be able to more intelligently allocate their budgets between digital and other media, invest more confidently in digital media, and increase accountability, performance, and marketing budgets overall. Additionally, the brand impact of digital media will improve by definition, because unviewed impressions—that people could not see and therefore could not be influenced by—are removed from the calculation. While change can be inconvenient, it will likely drive a stronger and more prosperous interactive advertising industry overall. From another perspective, if a buyer is asking for a transaction based on viewable impressions, and a publisher isn't transacting on them out of fear of losing inventory, that publisher will lose the sale. Publishers that aren't able to take the risk may lose out altogether. Publishers that move forward are likely to reap great reward.
  29. What does this mean for the sell side and buy side?
  30. A seller or buyer interested in working with a vendor to measure viewable impressions should pursue a thorough understanding of the vendor's processes, especially if this measurement is to be the basis of a transaction. With the advisory lift and new standard, 3MS and the MRC strongly encourage parties to work with MRC-accredited vendors and ensure that their technologies are reporting against all three critical viewability metrics: viewable, not viewable, and not measureable.
  31. How do I implement the new standards?
  32. For general information on the new standards and their benefits to the industry, please visit measurementnow.net. For specific information related to your industry sector, please visit the ANA website for Marketers (www.ana.net), the 4A's for advertising agencies (www.aaaa.org) and the IAB for publishers (www.iab.net). For information on accreditation against the new standards, please visit the MRC website at www.mediaratingcouncil.org
About Making Measurement Make Sense (3MS)

Making Measurement Make Sense (3MS) is a cross-industry initiative founded by the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A's), the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), and the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB). The Media Rating Council (MRC) is responsible for setting and implementing measurement standards.

Mission

The overall intent of 3MS is to revolutionize the way digital media is measured, planned, and transacted across the advertising industry in order to make it a more valuable medium for everyone involved in brand advertising. Its key objectives are to determine the right metrics and solutions, drive industry consensus around the solutions, establish a measurement governance model.
3MS provides the ecosystem (agencies, marketers and publishers) with a variety of benefits including a consistent approach and reliable metrics. In future, the 3MS approach will be deployed for new platforms, including tablets and mobile.
3MS is focused on five areas:

Motivation

The initiative – founded in 2011 – is driven by a need across the marketing and advertising industry for clear and standards-based metrics for interactive advertising that are comparable to legacy media and based on the fundamental opportunity for consumers to see online ads. This allows brands to accurately assess the value of all media as they strive to reach the right consumers for their marketing goals.

Progress

On March 31, 2014, the MRC lifted its advisory on transacting on Viewable Impressions for display ads. Now, the industry is able to start transacting on the Viewable Impression for the first time. A gating period on Viewable Impressions for video will remain in place through the end of Q2 2014.

3MS and the MRC developed guidelines for Viewable Impressions that state that 50 percent of pixels (whether video or display) must be in the viewable portion of an internet browser for a specific minimum amount of time: 1 continuous second for display ads, and 2 continuous seconds for video ads.

For more information about 3MS and the MRC please visit measurementnow.net.

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