Making Sense of 'Making Measurement Make Sense'

What is 3MS?

3MS - Making Measurement Make Sense is an initiative that was developed by ‘the industry’ for ‘the industry’ and in a wider scope, for the benefit all online digital consumers. The American Association of Advertising Agencies (4As), the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) have joined forces to help standardise the way online advertising is measured and improve how it’s monitored.

The Media Rating Council (MRC) is the independent body responsible for setting and implementing measurement standards, and in this blog I’ll be taking you through some of those standards, and extrapolate on how they will improve performance including conversion rates, for publishers and advertisers.

At the core of this initiative is the fundamental mission to make advertising measurement easier to understand and consistently reported across the industry with a particular focus on ‘viewability’. There should be no discrepancy between how advertising is classified because the only way to ensure an even playing field and a fair and controlled environment for everyone online, is to implement a tangible set of standards that everyone is obliged to adhere to.

3MS initiative logo IAB logo ANA logo

It all comes down to five

As an initiative, Making Measurement Make Sense has been broken down into 5 key areas:

  • Defining impressions

  • Establishing audience currency

  • Creating a standard classification of ad units

  • Defining ad performance metrics

  • Establishing brand attitudinal measures

These five key areas have been identified as the most important factors needed for governing the industry and defining the terms and metrics used to classify exactly what an ad impression is and the basis for ad serving transactions.

3MS will hopefully result with buyers and sellers of all digital advertising making more informed decisions.

The viewability lift and what it means for online video advertising - Viewability is the new media currency

The online viewability transaction restrictions have been lifted for digital advertising, meaning transactions can, and should now be made based on viewable impressions. While the restrictions no longer apply to standard in browser ad units, they remain in place, (for the time being) for online video advertising.

The advisory against transacting on viewable video impressions will remain in place with the gating period ending June 30 2014


The reason? To allow the market time to assess what impact the new standards have. It has proven difficult in testing, to really define what a viewable impression is when it comes to video. Because the nature of a video ad is different to the nature of other online advertising in that it is generally speaking, more likely to be viewed, it needs to be treated differently than other formats.

After additional testing the restrictions will be lifted for online video as well, which will only add value in the marketplace.

The IAB’s advisory standards

The key word here is ‘advisory’ - buyers and sellers are still free to transact however they choose, based on whatever metrics they choose, though the standards will allow much more transparency and the opportunity for more effective and accurate decision making.

3MS aims to make the media landscape more uniform when it comes to transacting around advertising and the most important change is that a viewable impression must present ‘an opportunity to see’ the advertisement. Making digital ad formats comparable with other media advertising is important and one of the main reasons publishers should transition to the viewable impression standard.

For publishers, offering up accredited, ‘viewable’ inventory means they should expect to see higher premiums that reflect improved value for the advertiser. There is a lot of talk amongst the industry about the IAB’s standards and now, with the restrictions lifted, we can start to analyze the real impact of viewable impressions.