This article is a summary of the viewable impression measurement processes employed by Flashtalking for Desktop and Mobile Web environments, including a general description of our measurement methodology, filtration, and reporting processes. These processes apply to both standard display ads and rich ads.
Flashtalking is an independent ad serving, measuring, and technology company, providing best-in-class digital advertising products, service, and support for online advertisers, key media buying and creative agencies.
Our products lead the agency ad server market and facilitate the management, delivery, and measuring of all forms of digital advertising across desktop, tablet and mobile. Core aspects include display (including standard ads, dynamic, rich media, video, HTML5 & mobile), search, social and affiliates.
For MRC accreditation, this document focuses solely on viewable ad impressions on standard display ads and rich ads (to include expand, heavy, page takeover and roadblocks) on Desktop only. Mobile Web Viewable impressions are not yet accredited by MRC. All other impressions and click measurements are out of scope.
Note on MRC
The following metrics are MRC Accredited:
- Desktop Impressions Rendered
- Desktop Viewable Impressions
- Desktop Undetermined Impressions
- Desktop Non-viewable Impressions
- Desktop Measured Rate
- Desktop Viewable Rate
- Desktop Percent Viewable
- Desktop Percent Non-Viewable
- Desktop Percent Undetermined
- Mobile Web Impressions Rendered
- Mobile App Impressions Rendered
All metrics are net invalid traffic except those explicitly flagged as "unfiltered" which may include impressions that are later flagged as invalid.
Creative and Campaign Creation
As Flashtalking provides an ad serving platform, we do not have direct control over the premise of client-initiated counting. We provide publishers with instructions for proper implementation of the ad tags and also assist the publishers with the integration of their creative; however, proper implementation is the responsibility of the publishers.
Users may utilize the interfaces to insert and preview creative, as well as set creative delivery preference; therefore the platform user can maintain control over the order entry and campaign management procedures. Flashtalking maintains instructional guides as part of their online help tool, and Campaign Managers assist publishers with issues related to ad tag implementation.
Viewable Ad Measurement
The MRC guidelines classify an impression as a viewable impression "if the ad was contained in the viewable space of the browser window, on an in-focus browser tab, based on pre-established criteria such as the percent of ad pixels within the viewable space and the length of time the ad the ad is in the viewable space of the browser. It is recognized that an 'opportunity to see' the ad exists with a viewable ad impression, which may or may not be the case with a served ad impression."
To minimize under-counting due to caching, the ad serving platform employs a mechanism designed to trigger a cache flush, which results in any content in the file being ignored and automatically retrieving a new copy, as well as random numbers being appended to the requests. In line with the IAB guidelines, we use the HTTP cache-control response headers 'cache-control', 'pragma' and 'expiry.'
In cases where the creative is not capable of displaying, for example, due to an out of date browser, an alt image is served instead.
All measured impressions are census-based and not sampled.
Viewable State Detection
Impression Rendered: A valid impression measured using a count on render methodology
Viewable Impressions: A viewable impression is counted when the following criteria are met:
- Greater than, or equal to, 50% of the pixels in the advertisement was on an in-focus browser tab on the viewable space of the browser page
- The previous criteria were met for at least one continuous second
Non-Viewable Impression: An advertisement renders but fails to have 50% or greater of its pixels on an in-focus browser tab on the viewable space of the browser page for at least one continuous second.
Undetermined Impression: The impression occurred in an environment where Flashtalking determined that it could not accurately detect the viewable status of an advertisement such as a cross-domain iFrame on iOS.
Large Size Display Ads
For large display ads in Desktop environments, such as 970 x 250 or higher, a threshold of 30% is used. If, however, the screen is too small to allow the ad to count as being fully visible then no viewable impression will be recorded. In Mobile environments, a threshold of 50% is used in all cases.
Flashtalking measures viewability of expanding ads, using the unexpanded parameters.
Impressions served Out-of-Focus
Flashtalking does not measure viewability on impressions displayed as out-of-focus or obstructed.
If the ad is auto-refreshed, then this will re-initialize the impression, fire the standard impression rendered event again, reinitialize ad visibility and begin recording again. Removal of suspicious auto page refresh events is handled in the same way as usual impressions by activity-based filtration, at processing time.
It is recognized that there are some situations, out of our control, that may result in the under or over-counting of ad impressions. These cases are hard to quantify and are not considered to be at a level to warrant specific action. Such situations could include:
Ad blocking software
Ad blocking software may be implemented that could potentially result in the under or over counting of impressions, depending on the configuration of the software and what it is designed to block.
Pre-fetch and Pre-rendering
Flashtalking does not fire impression rendered or viewability events while a page is in a pre-fetched or pre-rendered state. Pre-fetching may cause a "Count on Decision" event to fire, but the ad will not be counted as an Impression Rendered, or measured for viewability, until it has been rendered on the page. Standard rules apply to pre-rendered pages, utilizing the Page Visibility API to determine if the ad is being loaded on a pre-rendered page and waiting until the page enters a visible state before rendering the ad.
When a user begins to type a URL to a site previously visited, Safari may predict a complete URL from the browsing history and pre-load the page and ads in full to accelerate navigation speed. As Safari renders this pre-loaded page in a way that's indistinguishable from a standard displayed page, ads will be counted as Impressions Rendered after they are loaded onto the hidden page. That said, the Ads are not double-counted when the page is eventually revealed to the user. However, there is a small risk of over-counting Impressions Rendered (in terms of what was potentially visible to a user) if the browser is closed or the user navigates away from the predicted page before the pre-loaded page is displayed.
As Flashtalking’s ads are called from a parent tag on a page, they are unlikely to be affected by pop up blockers. However, we are unable to prevent 3rd parties from implementing our ads within a pop-up.
In the unusual instance that a pop-up blocker does block the ad from rendering, no impression rendered or viewability events will fire.
Obstruction in Mobile Web environments
If a user on a mobile device pulls up or drags into view an overlay menu, status bar, or other OS-related layer onto the screen, there is a chance it may obscure a portion of an ad being measured for viewability. As Flashtalking is unable to detect the presence of an overlay outside the browser, such cases may result in over-counting of viewable impressions.
Flashtalking can determine viewability on cross-domain iframes in most cases, except for some legacy browsers, such as the Android 4.4 browser or Safari on iOS 6, when an undetermined event will be recorded.
Business Partner Qualification
As part of a Business Partner Qualification process, Flashtalking may review the credentials, credit, business history, industry presence, client references, independent certifications, and other factors, to determine whether to partner with vendors or begin relationships with new customers. If Flashtalking becomes aware of or suspects any material changes in the information relied on as part of our Business Partner Qualification procedures, Flashtalking will investigate and re-assess the qualification to determine whether to continue working with said vendor or customer. Violations of our platform Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) may lead to immediate termination of access.
New customers will be required to acknowledge Flashtalking's adherence to the provisions of the MRC's Invalid Traffic (IVT) Detection and Filtration Guidelines, and to commit not to knowingly purchase, sell, generate, or in any other manner monetize or facilitate Invalid Traffic. Flashtalking emails all active users of the platform an annual reminder of the IVT guidelines and expectations.
Flashtalking relies on cloud providers, data centers, and content delivery networks (CDNs) for the delivery of ads and collection of impression-level data necessary for user analysis and invalid traffic filtration. All of our primary services maintain an industry-standard ISO 27001 (Information Security Management) certification.
Date last updated: 2019-07-11