DoubleClick Digital Marketing and DoubleClick for Publishers have shifted the method used for calculating impressions from “served” to “count on download.” This count on download method follows changes the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and Media Rating Council (MRC) made in April 2016 to count impressions after a user’s device indicates that creative download has begun. The previous served counting method recorded an impression when an ad server received a request for content.
This shift to follow the latest IAB and MRC impression counting guidelines impacted several aspects of the DoubleClick Digital Marketing platform. In order to allow for adequate transition time, we introduced the count on download methodology in phases. Here are key dates for users of DoubleClick Campaign Manager:
- February 6, 2017: A new Downloaded Impressions metric was made available in DCM. This metric is a preview of the count on download calculation methodology that is used in the existing Impressions method as of October 2017.
- March 1, 2017: Active View calculations use downloaded impressions for measurable and eligible impressions, causing viewability rates to increase.
- September 11, 2017: Mobile app impressions use a revised approach for counting downloaded impressions.
- October 2, 2017: Image assets no longer serve through the DCM standard placement tag because this does not support downloaded impressions. 1x1 impression tracking pixels are not impacted.
- October 2, 2017: The calculations used for the Impressions metric were updated to the count on download method. As of this point, attribution and billing that uses impressions are based on downloaded impressions.
- January 8, 2018: Further revisions for mobile app impressions.
Using this newest methodology from the IAB and MRC:
- Ensures that the data you get from DoubleClick follows the latest industry standards.
- Saves you media budget because you’ll no longer be paying media or ad serving fees for impressions where content never made it to a user’s browser.
- Reduces discrepancies with third-party viewability providers as the industry moves towards this common counting methodology.
- Paves the way for further MRC accreditation for DoubleClick products.
The content below gives an overview of these changes for users of DCM. Bid Manager users can review this article in the Bid Manager Help Center.
February 6: New Downloaded Impressions metric available
On February 6 we introduced the first phase of the transition to downloaded impressions by adding a new metric to DCM. The new Downloaded Impressions metric uses the count on download methodology that the Impressions metric uses as of October 2017.
Data for the Downloaded Impressions metric is available from February 1, 2017.
There are a few things that did not change at this time:
- There was no change to the Impressions metric.
- All billing and attribution that's based on the Impressions metric continued to use the Impression metric.
- There was no change to the metrics in Bid Manager.
- The Downloaded Impressions metric is not available in Data Transfer.
March 1: Active View calculations use count on download methodology
Starting on March 1, Active View calculations that are based on impressions use downloaded impressions. Overall, the change to Active View calculations may have resulted in an increase in viewability rates.
Since Active View data is used across DoubleClick Digital Marketing, there were updates throughout the platform wherever this data appears, including Verification in DCM.
Before March 1, Active View used the served impression methodology to count impressions. This included a small number of impressions that reached the Campaign Manager or Display & Video 360 servers, but the ad content may not have reached the user’s browser. These impressions were served but not downloaded, so they aren't included as an impression under downloaded impressions.
The number of measurable and eligible impressions is now calculated based on downloaded impressions. This causes an increase in viewability rates because the total number of impressions that are counted as measurable and eligible for viewability has decreased.
Here you can see a detailed breakdown of what the expected change is to each impacted Active View metric as of March 1. Metrics not listed here have no expected impact.
|Eligible Impressions||Lower||The previous method for calculating this number included impressions that were served but not downloaded. Since these are no longer counted as an impression with downloaded impressions, the number will decrease.|
|Measurable Impressions||Lower||The previous method for calculating this number included impressions that were served but not downloaded. Since these are no longer counted as an impression with downloaded impressions, the number will decrease.|
|Not Viewable Impressions||Lower||The previous method for calculating this number included impressions that were served but not downloaded. Since these are no longer counted as an impression with downloaded impressions, the number will decrease.|
|% Measurable Impressions||Lower||This number is calculated as
|% Viewable Impressions||Higher||This metric is calculated as
|Impression Distribution (Not Measurable)||Higher||This metric is calculated as
|Impression Distribution (Not Viewable)||Lower||This metric is calculated as
|Impression Distribution (Viewable)||Higher||This metric is calculated as
September 11: Revised counting of mobile app impressions
Beginning September 11, the counting methodology used in the Downloaded Impressions metric changed for mobile apps that support MRAID. An impression is counted once the ad is partially on screen.
Impressions served in apps that do not support MRAID continue to use the existing downloaded impression methodology.
October 2: Image assets excluding 1x1 pixels do not serve through standard placement tags
As of October 2, image assets do not serve through standard placement tags. This tag type does not support the count on download methodology for images. This applies only to “banner” creatives with dimensions larger than 1x1, such as common 300x250 and 728x90 sizes.
This timeline does not include 1x1 pixels used for impression tracking.
To help ease this transition, we phased out the use of standard tags for images before October:
July 28: A new Placement Tag Type dimension was made available in DCM Reporting. This dimension gives the tag type that was used for every served impression. Data for this dimension is available as of July 20, 2017.
August 22: New standard tags could no longer be generated for placements with dimensions larger than 1x1. Existing standard tags still served from August 22 - October 2.
October 2: Standard tags no longer serve image assets larger than 1x1. You'll need to traffic new image assets using a different placement tag type, such as the ins tag.
October 2: Impressions metric uses count on download methodology
In the final phase of the transition, the count on download methodology became the measurement of record for DoubleClick Digital Marketing. This transition began on October 2 and ended on October 13.
- The Impressions metric is computed using the count on download methodology that you could preview with the Downloaded Impressions metric.
- Billing and attribution that's based on the Impressions metric use the count on download methodology.
January 8: Further revisions for mobile app impressions
Since October 2, impressions for mobile apps that support MRAID have been counted when an ad is partially on screen. After careful analysis, and feedback from customers, we began counting mobile app impressions using the count on download methodology starting January 8.
This ensures that impression counts from DoubleClick Campaign Manager will align with other platforms using the count on download methodology.
Impressions served in apps that do not support MRAID are not impacted. This traffic already uses the count on download methodology.
The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) has updated their impression measurement standards from served impressions to downloaded impressions for mobile impressions and is in the process of doing so for desktop impressions. Eventually these changes will be required of all ad technology platforms as the MRC and IAB work together to update the industry measurement standards, driven by industry wide consensus.
Downloaded impression counting: An impression is not counted until the user’s client (browser or mobile device) sends back a ping that the ad has started to download. The MRC refers to this as “count on download.” See the MRC definition for more information.
Served counting: An impression is counted as soon as the ad server receives a request for content.
Visible impression counting: An impression is counted once an ad is partially on screen.
Yes. The Impressions metric previously used a combination of downloaded impression and served counting depending on the creative and type of ad tag.
Prior to October 2017, the downloaded impression counting methodology was used for all video creatives, interstitials, tracking ads, and all eligible impressions served on desktop Chrome. All traffic served by Campaign Manager with an internal redirect placement tag on the Google Display Network also used the download impression counting methodology.
1x1 impression pixels served through standard placement tags are compatible with downloaded impressions. These pixels will continue to serve through the October 2017 migration of image assets to different tag types.
We strongly recommend that if you use standard tags to serve tracking pixels that you use tracking ads.