MRC issues new guidelines for measuring location-based advertising

The Media Rating Council (MRC) has issued the final version of its Location Based Advertising Measurement Guidelines, developed in collaboration with the Mobile Marketing Association and IAB. The guidelines, which were previously available for public comment in draft form, serve as industry-wide guidance on how the effectiveness of digital location-based ads should be rated, and how location data should be collected by advertisers and ad tech providers.

The guidelines were developed with the assistance of a broad group of industry practitioners, and provide definitions for key location-based measurement terms, as well as recommended research practices and disclosures concerning the assignment of device or user location for use in digital ad measurements.

The MRC hopes the guidelines will serve as a benchmark, enabling measurements taken by advertisers and ad tech firms to be voluntarily validated by independent third party auditors and ensuring the industry as a whole works towards common standards.

“With the release of the Location Based Advertising Measurement Guidelines, the industry now has a set of recommended practices to serve as a guide in the collection and reporting of location-based data,” said George W. Ivie, executive director and CEO of the MRC. “Accurate location data that’s collected in a consistent and transparent manner can greatly add to the richness and utility of the measurements on which digital advertising is bought and sold, and, as such, the release of these guidelines represents another step in fulfilling the Making Measurement Make Sense (3MS) mission of producing standards designed to enhance the state of digital advertising measurement.”

The guidelines include standards for what is considered personally identifiable information, what counts as a viewable impression (matching the IAB’s definition of at least 50 per cent of an ad’s pixels viewable for one second for display and two seconds for video) and specific guidelines on different data collection methods.

“We are quickly moving from a mobile-first world to one that is mobile-only, and the industry needs measurement guidelines that address this shift,” said Anna Bager, senior vice president and general manager for mobile and video at the IAB. “Location-based advertising is already a key part of many marketers’ strategies, and these guidelines will be central in building the type of trusted media environment where geomarketing can flourish, benefitting both consumers and advertisers.”