Report on performance

Change to mobile app impression counting

Counting impressions when the creative is displayed on screen

Google Ad Manager counts mobile app impressions in alignment with industry standards using the “Begin to render” counting methodology. Mobile app impressions are counted when one or more pixels of the ad creative is visible on a device's screen.

The “Begin to render” counting methodology is compliant with MRC's count-on-download minimum standard and is the same methodology used by AdMob.

Timeline of changes

May, 2021

New counting method for Mobile app direct-sold impressions
Beginning May 3, Mobile app direct-sold impressions begin counting when one or more pixels of the ad creative is visible on a device's screen. Learn more about third party impression tracking URL counting.

December 5, 2019

The temporary Ad server provisional impressions metric and the Mobile App SDK status dimension are now available for Ad Manager reporting in preparation for the change to the “Begin to render” counting methodology. After several months of measuring mobile app impressions with the provisional metric, Ad Manager will start using the “Begin to render” counting methodology for all mobile app impressions.

  • Ad server provisional impressions (metric): The total number of impressions, accounting for the upcoming transition to the “Begin to render” counting methodology to help you understand the impact of this change.
    • Counts mobile app impressions when one or more pixels of the ad creative were visible on a device's screen.
    • Counts web impressions using the downloaded methodology.
    The Ad server provisional impressions metric will only contain data about mobile app impressions from November 20, 2019 onward.
  • Mobile App SDK status (dimension): Shows whether mobile app impressions were generated using an older legacy version of the Google Mobile Ads SDK. Impressions generated using older SDK versions may not be counted using the Ad server provisional impressions metric. This means you may not be able to use the provisional metric to understand the impact of these changes on those apps.
    These counting discrepancies will be corrected when the final, billable metric becomes available and impressions generated using older versions of the SDK will be counted.

    To ensure your mobile apps are prepared for the upcoming changes to mobile app impression counting, we recommend updating your apps to the newest version of the SDK:

This update appeared in the "Coming soon" section of "What's new in Google Ad Manager" on November 18, 2019.

August 27, 2018

Ad Exchange ads requested from direct Ad Exchange tags in mobile apps use the new impression counting methodology.

October 3, 2017

Ad Manager started using the new impression counting method for Ad Exchange creatives filled through Ad Manager, select Ad Manager creative formats, and Open Bidding (formerly known as Exchange Bidding).

All Ad Manager networks use the new methodology to count:

  • Ad Exchange mobile app impressions filled by Ad Manager.

  • Ad Manager native, interstitial, and video creatives served to mobile apps.

  • Open Bidding creatives served to mobile apps.

  • Mobile SDK Mediation creatives served to mobile apps.

Counting for other Ad Exchange impressions requested directly from a mobile app, not through Ad Manager, are unaffected, even if the Ad Exchange account was linked to an Ad Manager network.

Assess the impact for your network

We expect this change to be a net revenue boost to most publishers in the long term as it increases advertiser trust and the ability to optimize on Ad Exchange. Some publishers, however, might initially see a decrease in impressions counted and revenue earned.

For Ad Exchange mobile app delivery, use the following Ad Manager report metrics:

  • Ad Exchange impressions
  • Ad Exchange average eCPM
  • Ad Exchange revenue

For Exchange Bidding delivery, use the Demand Channel dimension, filtered by "Exchange Bidding".

Common questions

How is this different from the transition to downloaded impressions?

This is a similar change, but not the same. Mobile app inventory is different from web inventory, so counting on download isn't sufficient. Because mobile apps can "cache" (or prefetch) creatives, a slightly different methodology is required to accurately count each impression event.

Are Ad Manager ad serving fees affected by this change?

No. Ad Manager, Ad Exchange, and Exchange Bidding ad serving fee billing methods are not affected.

Does this change impact mobile app ad prefetching?

After the transition to “begin to render” is complete, impression counting on Ad Manager will be consistent across all formats using the GMA SDK. This wasn't the case previously, especially with banner ads. Note that third-party impression counting may still follow a different methodology.

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