Putting it back together: Solving for Measurement Fragmentation with the Open Measurement Approach

Jesus Mascias Sr. Product Manager

The advent of digital TV brought the promise of better proof of advertising effectiveness, which resulted in the emergence of multiple types of measurements. For example: invalid traffic (an impression has no value if not consumed by a human) and viewability (an impression has no value if the viewer did not actually see the ad).  However, the challenge of screen fragmentation has caused measurement solutions to also become fragmented in two key areas: how value is expressed via measurement and how measurement is deployed across players.

The IAB Tech Lab released its Open Measurement initiative to standardize the deployment of viewability measurement and tackle the challenges of fragmentation across different screens. This initiative aims to eliminate the need for suppliers to maintain costly integrations with the multiple vendors that buyers want to work with.

What is Open Measurement?

IAB Tech Lab´s Open Measurement initiative aims to simplify the measurement of ads delivered to mobile in-app environments by viewability and verification vendors, such as Moat and IAS (Integral Ad Science). The Open Measurement project stands on two pillars:

  • A common Software Development Kit (OM SDK) surfacing player signals that are required to perform viewability and other types of measurement. Currently available for iOS and Android platforms.
  • An Open Measurement Interface Definition (OMID), shared across platforms, which describes how a measurement provider can leverage the signals provided by the OM SDK.

Why is using Open Measurement beneficial?

Once OM SDK is in place, integrations require little to no incremental development from a measurement provider or publisher, thereby simplifying integrations and support for new capabilities. As a result, Open Measurement brings transparency and scalability to the table and supports stakeholders across the industry:

  • Publishers can work with any measurement partner while supporting one single OM SDK per platform. This reduces both development work and app size resulting in quicker load times.
  • Measurement providers can develop OM SDK compatible products that work universally across all publisher apps on all platforms.
  • Media buyers can reduce operational costs by using a single verification node with their measurement vendor of choice.
  • Media buyers can gain unprecedented transparency into the measurement of campaign performance, as inventory may be “flag-able” so that they can read measurability signals from supply.
  • There is an opportunity for all actors in the ecosystem (ad servers, SSPs, DSPs, etc.) to know if a given impression is measurable by a certain technology vendor, in an open and standardized way.

Looking ahead: what’s next for Open Measurement and FreeWheel?

As of January 2020, FreeWheel’s SDK, AdManager, is officially certified by the IAB Tech Lab’s Open Measurement Software Development Kit (OM SDK) initiative, in its iOS and Android versions. With the OM SDK now available, AdManager-enabled supply can be measured by all the vendors that support Open Measurement as part of their offering. Additionally, FreeWheel clients can leverage this expansion by making use of Freewheel’s UI capabilities to append Open Measurement enabled tags from their viewability vendor of choice to their creatives.

This is a major milestone for our company.

At FreeWheel, we strongly believe Open Measurement has the potential to create a more transparent and accountable digital media across all screens. As adoption continues to rise in available platforms and the initiative expands to desktop (planned for Q2 2020) and OTT, we expect to see a much healthier measurement ecosystem, which will act as a fantastic foundation to drive the adoption of more complex measurement solutions.

While Open Measurement was created to solve for viewability measurement and its derived issues, it has already been expanded to tackle other types of measurement such as invalid traffic, brand safety, and duration weighting, which are some of the other flavors of the newly created MRC Cross-Media Audience Measurement standard. Moreover, if this same approach is imitated by other types of measurement activations such as demographics and attribution, there is an opportunity to change the way campaigns are tracked and measured across the digital adverting ecosystem, leading to greater transparency.

Given the above, at FreeWheel we are committed to support the Open Measurement initiative by becoming early adopters of the newest functionalities, like the OM SDK 1.3 release, which expands the standard in topics like audibility, content-level brand safety and the new MRC “Begin to Render” impression definition, alongside the Desktop OM SDK libraries as soon as they are available. In addition, we plan on collaborating within IAB Tech Lab Open Measurement Working Group on the definition of standard measurement methodologies for screens that are currently not addressed, like OTT and Connected TV.

This support, in conjunction with FreeWheel’s advocacy to reduce fragmentation by adopting standards such as Universal AdID and VAST 4.1, demonstrates our willingness to contribute to industry standardization and unification.