MM Awards

IAB launches viewability SDK

David Murphy

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Tech Lab has released an Open Measurement Software Development Kit (SDK) to deliver data about ad viewability in apps.

The in-app SDK is available now in limited beta purely for members of the Open Measurement Working Group, for testing. While the SDK has gone through extensive review and testing within the Open Measurement Working Group, which develops and maintains the SDK, the limited release will enable the IAB to collect feedback from integration partners and make any necessary adjustments before the SDK is made more widely available.

The SDK consists of a native library for iOS and Android, as well as a JavaScript API, named OMID (Open Measurement Interface Definition), to communicate with measurement tags in a standard fashion. Initially, the SDK aims to deliver viewability metrics for in-app ads, including display, video, interstitials, and native ads. The IAB is also working on a similar solution for websites which it hopes to release early next year.

Open Measurement Working Group members Eric Picard, Pandora VP, and Brad Beal, senior product manager at Pandora, explained the reasons for the launch of the SDK in a blog post, saying:

“Despite the complexity of supporting numerous viewability vendors on the web for any publisher, advertiser, agency, or vendor in the space – the challenge of supporting multiple vendors in mobile in-app environments has been nearly impossible to solve so far. The proliferation of vendors with their own software solutions that need to be supported in-app was causing complexity. Publishers were finding it difficult to maintain their apps and stay up to date with SDKs, and, there were discrepancies between vendors that were hard to understand and debug. Buyers were finding that inventory supply was becoming fragmented since not all publishers supported all vendors, which either restricted their options in media planning or forced them to work with different measurement partners across different publishers. And, as an industry, we frankly were not collaborating as much as we should have been to end the proliferation of fraud.”

The post goes on to explain that integrating software code from a third party into the code of the mobile app itself is fraught with all sorts of complexity and risk. “Mobile app developers must incorporate a Software Development Kit (SDK) into the code of their app to support the vendor’s tracking and analytics,” it says. “From a resourcing and time perspective, integrating with just one SDK can be costly for an organization. The process requires not only coding, but also significant testing on an ongoing basis to ensure the stability of the app. Couple this with regular SDK updates, essentially repeating the cycle, and the costs become prohibitive. And even then, SDKs can and do cause instability.”

The IAB initiative will enable publishers to deliver viewability metrics, supporting independent third-party measurement from multiple sources through the integration of one single SDK. And while there is no guarantee that the IAB’s SDK will be widely adopted, it’s worth noting that the Open Measurement Group includes some of the major players in the measurement space, including Moat, Integral Ad Science, Nielsen, Google and DoubleVerify.

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