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This week, the Interactive Advertising Bureau released some new guidelines for measuring the effectiveness of in-game advertising, and ultimately advertising in the Metaverse.
It was the first time since 2009 that the IAB, a standards body for the gaming and advertising industry, took such action against in-game advertising. Back then, many of the policies had to do with mobile ads, which were fresh on the scene at the time.
However, this standard takes into account things that came with 3D in-game visuals for console, PC, mobile, and virtual reality games. And in this way, the importance of these new guidelines is that they point the way to the metaverse, the universe of virtual worlds that are all connected, as in novels such as snow crash and Ready player one. Setting such guidelines is an important part of creating standards that enable massive changes and innovations – like the Metaverse – for computers and games.
In the past, 2D vision was measurable. But with 3D, you can never really tell if a gamer or VR user is actually watching a display in a 3D space. So the group had to work with the industry to figure out how to properly recognize an ad that’s viewed – since it’s the main reason people pay for ads – and how to measure that view.
In a joint collaboration between IAB, IAB Tech Lab and the Media Rating Council (MRC), IAB has released its Intrinsic In-Game (IIG) Measurement Guidelines to establish updated measurement guidelines for advertising appearing in gameplay. The release will be open for public comment for a period of 30 days until July 15, 2022.
When IAB published its current standard for in-game ad measurement standards in 2009, video games and advertising technology were at a completely different stage of development. The updated standards will address ad viewability, measurement, inactivity and fraud with intrinsic in-game ads that put them on par with the rest of digital media. For example, an ad must be viewed for at least three seconds before it will be credited for viewing. This is a way to bypass any ad-related scam.
But the value of such ads is important because games are where the audience is, at least the audience that brands and others see as valuable targets for ads.
Intrinsic in-game ads refer to native in-game or in-play ads that are placed “in-game” and enable a seamless part of the gaming environment. As more companies enter the gaming ecosystem, it is vital that IAB and IAB Tech Lab bring the industry together to help set the unified standards needed to create consistency in the in-game advertising marketplace are.
“Gaming represents a huge opportunity for marketers,” said Zoe Soon, vice president of the IAB Experience Center, in a statement. “With 227 million gamers in the US and over three billion worldwide by the end of this year, it is a key entertainment channel, especially for Gen Z, the next generation of decision makers and household spenders. We’re updating the 2009 in-game guidelines to help marketers tap into this haven of attention and measure results with confidence and transparency.”
The updated IIG measurement standards:
- Re-examines the 10-second cumulative exposure duration to count a valid impression, including “sight, sound and motion” and 3D and virtual environments.
- Includes new advertising formats beyond 2D and video as they relate to visibility in in-game environments.
- Defines in-game measurement terms (impressions, reach/frequency, and engagement) to align with broader cross-channel measurement efforts.
“With IIG, we will have viewability standards in in-game environments and guidelines for tracking impression measurements, display ad viewability, and invalid traffic that are accounted for with various technical factors such as screen size, resolution, angle, and lighting,” he said Shailley Singh, vice president of product at IAB Tech Lab, in a statement. “These will be important factors as we prepare to scale advertising into gaming and expand advertising growth for marketers and their partners as they enter a relatively new space.”
“Technology has evolved significantly since we and the IAB issued our first guidelines for measuring in-game ads, which predated critical measurement concepts like ad viewability. As such, it is critical that we release this update to accommodate the accelerated growth of games,” said George Ivie, Executive Director and CEO of the MRC, in a statement. “Through the IIG measurement guidelines, we can now achieve greater consistency than vendors creating their own rules for their measurements, which inspires trust from publishers and buyers as the industry works together to create a non-intrusive advertising experience.”
The project is a collaborative effort of the IAB Experience Centre, the IAB Tech Lab and the Media Rating Council, with significant input from members of IAB UK and a task force of prominent in-game advertisers, brands and agencies.
The Interactive Advertising Bureau is a trade group of more than 700 leading media companies, brands, agencies and technology companies responsible for selling, delivering and optimizing digital advertising campaigns.
Here’s an excerpt of an ad’s visibility below:
3.2.3 Advertising angle relative to the game screen
In cases where the display angle can be measured specifically for X and Y coordinates, a display angle of no more than 55 degrees (on an absolute basis) relative to the game screen is recommended for a viewable impression to be valid. When measuring angle, the measurement should be taken from the center of the part of the display that is displayed on the screen or from the center of the surface to be measured, where 0 degrees represents display facing the screen and 180 degrees represents display facing the screen away from the screen and 90 degrees represent a state in between. However, it’s important to note that an important goal of measuring ad angle is to determine the extent to which the ad appears distorted or compressed to the user, and whether this distortion or compression affects the ability to see the creative. The amount of this distortion or compression can vary by environment or creative type, and measurement organizations that also consider z-coordinates may find further complexity in measuring angle. Because of these potential variables, measurement organizations may set different thresholds to determine the point at which the display angle or display distortion or compression has reached a point where the subject can no longer be seen. In order to determine this, all the different thresholds must be empirically supported and documented, as well as regularly examined and adjusted if necessary. In addition, measurement organizations should consider non-uniform or non-uniform display surfaces/objects when calculating angle and determining distortion, as angle can change depending on the point or perspective of the measurement. In these cases, measurement providers can measure the angle on an uneven surface/object by breaking the display into approximate parts and measuring each part separately. Finally, measurement organizations should also consider prevailing industry guidance regarding out-of-home (OOH) measurements related to advertising angles and opportunity to see, including the exposure zone requirements of the MRC’s Digital Place-Based Audience Measurement Standards.
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