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Online ad measurement goes global

In conjunction with 26 trade bodies, such as the American Association of Advertising Agencies and the Asian Digital Marketing Association, the Interactive Advertising Bureau has launched the first set of 'global' online ad measurement guidelines.

The three-point guidelines, to be adopted in Europe and the US by the end of next year, aim to standardise online ad impression measurement in markets worldwide.

It marks the first time that any medium has launched a global measurement standard.

There are three main recommendations: that ad-impression counting should be conducted from the client side, rather than at the server (i.e., once an Internet user actually reaches the ad); that there should be consistent elimination of automatic counting - such as spiders and robots; and that there should be consistent "cache busting", which is a way of providing a more accurate count of the number of ad views.

Danny Meadows-Klue, outgoing CEO of IAB UK, said that more than 35 ad server vendors have signed a pledge to adjust counting methods to meet the new guidelines within 18 months.

The IAB is recommending, but not enforcing, third-party independent auditing and certification of all ad-serving applications.

At present, only a handful of ad servers have been independently audited by the UK's ABCE, including Real Media, Accipiter and Profero. But Richard Foan, MD of ABCE, said it's talking with a number of the other ad server vendors and expects more to sign up for auditing in due course.

“Every server should be audited,” said Profero MD Wayne Arnold. “If clients are paying money for advertising then vendors should be prepared to verify that investment with independent auditing.”

Tim Brown, Real Media UK MD, agreed that auditing was important but said that, more importantly, the new standard “will make buying and selling of online media much easier and will improve the credibility of online as an advertising medium.”

Danny Meadows-Klue, president of IAB Europe and CEO of IAB UK, said of the new guidelines: "The Internet is leaping enthusiastically at the challenges of building global standards. These are landmark moments in a truly ground-breaking medium."

Stephan Loerke, managing director of the World Federation of Advertisers, said: "In a climate where advertisers are calling for greater accountability across all media, this initiative is a welcome step forward. It makes online advertising a more attractive prospect for advertisers worldwide."

The news comes as Meadows-Klue announced last week that he is stepping down from his position.

Sources: New Media Zero, Revolution

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