Unlocking scale for mobile ad verification with Open Measurement

04/10 By Joe Ranzenbach

Solving inherent industry and technical challenges to unlock brand spend

The Challenge

A recent study using IAS data captured the way audiences shift their attention from television to mobile, even during some of the year’s most anticipated television events. This data is just the latest sign that audiences are increasingly shifting their focus to mobile. Advertisers spent $58.38 billion on mobile in 2017, making it the single largest source of digital spending at 70.3 percent.

However, third-party verification of mobile impressions has remained a challenge for the industry. The gap between advertisers’ mobile viewability requirements and measurement vendors’ capabilities has become a commonly cited roadblock to growth in mobile ad spending. While advertisers want 100% measurable inventory, some platforms report figures as low as 5% to 10%.

Despite the staggering growth in mobile ad spend, mobile has fallen short of its full potential due in large part to challenges in bringing verification to scale.  Measurement solutions provided by verification vendors require app publishers and supply-side providers (SSPs) to integrate SDKs. However, supporting separate SDKs for each vendor can bloat app footprints, require greater resource investment to maintain, and potentially lead to poor consumer experiences. These, among other supply-side challenges, have limited advertisers ability to verify the quality of the in-app inventory they are investing in.

Today, the IAB Tech Lab announced the general availability of the Open Measurement SDK. According to the  IAB Tech Lab Senior Vice President and General Manager Dennis Buchheim, “The Open Measurement SDK brings transparency and consistency to in-app mobile advertising.”

How we got here

This announcement has been several years in the making. In December 2016, IAS announced that it would be contributing its own resources and proprietary SDK towards an industry-wide solution that would enable all verification vendors to align with a single SDK solution and framework. This effort would eliminate the need for publishers and SSPs to integrate multiple SDKs, and enable advertisers to verify their investments at scale with their vendor of choice. However, true transformation requires collaboration.

An industry-wide effort

The IAB Tech Lab assumed governance of this initiative in January 2017.  Efforts were transferred to the Open Measurement Working Group, where IAS now sits on a leadership team of Commit Group members which includes comScore, DoubleVerify, Google, Moat, Pandora, and the IAB Tech Lab.

Early adopters, including Flipboard, Google, InMobi, Pandora, and Tapjoy, have worked to integrate and test the OM SDK during the limited release period. With their announcement today, Pandora has fully-integrated the OM SDK. These early-adopters will be first to market supporting the SDK in the months following its wide release. Their efforts, along with an industry-wide alignment on buying and selling standards for ads measured via the OM SDK, will simplify buying and forecasting in mobile programmatic campaigns. After exhaustive testing, the SDK is finally ready for the industry-wide adoption that will allow it to move measurement forward.

The IAB recommends that SDK integration vendors transition to the Open Measurement SDK at the earliest opportunity and preferably by September 30, 2018. IAS and the other verification vendors in the OMWG Commit Group are committed to deprecating their proprietary verification SDKs in favor of standardizing on Open Measurement. During this transition period, IAS – like the other verification vendors – will continue to support their proprietary SDK with current integration partners to avoid disruption to measurement available today.

What’s next?

The OM SDK Is now generally available in all markets. App publishers or SSP/networks looking to learn more about integrating the OM SDK can contact the IAB Tech Lab at omsdksupport@iabtechlab.com.

For advertisers interested in learning more about IAS and our mobile in-app solution for viewability measurement, download our one-sheet here or contact us.


Joe Ranzenbach is the Director of Product at IAS