Member blog: Quality and Viewability blog series: How Open Measurement unlocks scale

In this blog series, IAB Europe’s Brand Advertising Committee and its members explore key perspectives and the latest developments in the drive for a viewable, quality digital advertising environment.

Nick Morley, MD EMEA, Integral Ad Science

In 2018 European ad spend for mobile surpassed TV. According to the IAB Europe AdEx Benchmark study, 48.9% of digital advertising spend was invested in mobile in Europe during 2018. This is the latest data highlighting a shift in industry dynamics, proving that advertisers are increasingly focusing on mobile as a channel to connect with their audience.

Overcoming industry challenges

Despite the staggering growth in mobile ad spend, mobile has fallen short of its full potential. This is 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 the ability of advertisers to verify the quality of the in-app inventory they are investing in.

Moving to Open Measurement

In response to inherent technical and industry challenges that were preventing verification measurement for mobile in-app advertising at scale, IAS offered its own proprietary SDK to the IAB as a starting point for an industry standard solution in early 2016. IAS also brought various players together to form an industry consortium alongside Google, InMobi, MoPub, and many others. In early 2017, the IAB Tech Lab assumed governance of this consortium, renaming under the Open Measurement Working Group in early 2017. Today, IAS is the founder of the Open Measurement initiative and a founding member of the OMWG Commit Group via the IAB Tech Lab.

The key goal of OMWG was to develop and maintain a single SDK for different platforms (e.g. iOS, Android, Windows etc.) that would standardise and collect data and signals required to be measured for ad verification purpose. This SDK would provide the collected data to any participating measurement provider, allowing the publisher or Ads SDK to integrate one Ad Verification SDK and serve all Measurement Providers.IAB Tech Lab announced the general availability of the Open Measurement SDK in April 2018.

Early adopters, including Flipboard, Google, InMobi, Pandora, and Tapjoy, have worked to integrate and test the OM SDK during the limited release period. However only once the OM SDK is fully adopted by the industry will true third-party measurement be available at scale, bringing it to parity with today’s web measurement.

Mobile and beyond

By January 2019, more than 350 companies granted access to OM SDK, and IAB Tech Lab certified 20 companies and over 2 billion mobile devices to integrate with the OM SDK. This industry-wide alignment on buying and selling standards for ads measured via the OM SDK, will simplify buying and forecasting in mobile programmatic campaigns.

Just like mobile publishers back in 2016, broadcasters should look to embrace the IAB Open Measurement SDK to unlock industry standardisation and bring scalable third party measurement to OTT, the new frontier in video. Industry alignment and momentum behind the Open Measurement initiative will bring exciting opportunities and the necessary solution to any future emerging channel.


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