Change to mobile app impression counting

Counting impressions when the creative is displayed on screen

Google Ad Manager is changing the way mobile app impressions are counted to align with industry standards. An impression will be counted when one or more pixels of the ad creative is visible on a device's screen.

This new impression counting methodology is compliant with MRC's count-on-download minimum standard and is the same methodology used by AdMob.

What's changing?

  • Currently, Ad Manager mobile app impression counting methodology can vary by ad format.
  • After this change, Ad Manager counts a mobile app impression when the ad content has begun to load and at least some part of it is displayed within the user's view.

Summary and timeline of changes

As of October 3, 2017, Ad Exchange creatives filled through Ad Manager, select Ad Manager creative formats, and Exchange Bidding use the new methodology. Ads requested directly from Ad Exchange apart from Ad Manager and other Ad Manager display formats will adopt the new methodology in 2018 and 2019. Watch the release notes for more details.

Timeline Summary of change
October 3, 2017 *

Ad Manager uses the new impression counting method for Ad Exchange creatives filled through Ad Manager, select Ad Manager creative formats, and 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
  • Exchange Bidding creatives served to mobile apps

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

Early 2018 Ad Exchange ads requested from direct Ad Exchange tags begin adoption
In 2018, ads requested directly from Ad Exchange tags (not through Ad Manager) will adopt this new counting methodology.
Early 2019 All other display formats served through Ad Manager begin adoption
In 2019, all other mobile app ads served through Ad Manager (including reservation and programmatic guaranteed impressions) will adopt this new counting methodology.

* Select Ad Manager networks began adoption in July and September 2017.

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 than the transition to downloaded impressions?

This is a similar change, but not the same. Mobile app inventory is different than 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.

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