Ad Network Takes Steps to Ensure Consumers Actually See Mobile Promos

Millennial Media ramps up its viewability standards

As consumers shift from desktops to smartphones, advertisers want to make sure promos shift with them. To that end, the Media Ratings Council recently released its first guidelines for maximizing mobile viewability. And now ad network Millennial Media is adopting standards that go even further.

Working with Integral Ad Science, Millennial is guaranteeing advertisers that 100 percent of mobile ads served within apps are viewable for one second. That number is far higher than the 50 percent standard recommended by the Media Ratings Council's temporary policy. (The council said it will release official standards by the end of the year.)

Millennial first polled agencies and marketers on its advisory council about their top priorities for mobile advertising in 2015. One of the biggest topics to come out of those conversations was mobile viewability. And executives from Starcom MediaVest, MEC, Initiative, IPG Mediabrands, Camelot Comms and Telefonica UK have all agreed to use Millennial's new measurement tool.

Jason Kelly, president of managed media at Millennial Media, said best practices around mobile viewability are currently limited, but he believes his company is poised to change that.

"The feedback that we got from the market was, 'You guys have been in mobile for almost 10 years, you have the level of scale and technical ability to be able to take this on. Why not?'" Kelly said.

At launch, only interstitial and banner ads served in the U.S. and U.K. will benefit from the new guarantee, with a global roll out expected by the end of this year. The company will guarantee views on its programmatic and mobile ads soon.

That assurance is valuable to marketers, said Steven Traykovski, svp, digital director at MediaVest USA, and mobile viewability should be on par with desktop.

"Mobile in-app viewability has been assumed to be high, but without data to measure it, there were few controls available to marketers to ensure ads were seen," he said. "What we are looking for ultimately is full protection across the mobile ecosystem to include brand safety, protection against non-human traffic as well as metrics on viewability."

Millennial will work with the Media Ratings Council, the Interactive Advertising Bureau, the 4A's and the 4Ms (a mobile group within the Association of National Advertisers) to dig into mobile measurement and standards.

"This is just an opportunity to get ahead of [the issue]—it's highly topical," said Millennial CEO Michael Barrett.