Doubleclick Campaign Manager Improves Impression Measurement

Measuring Impressions More Accurately

Industry Impressions Measurement Shift

In April of 2016, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and Media Rating Council (MRC) shifted measurement of impressions to only include instances where a user’s device indicates the creative download has begun. Previously, an impression was counted when an ad server received a content request, prior to ads downloading on the page.

/ DoubleClick Platform shifts

To account for the new IAB and MRC standards, Doubleclick Campaign Manager (DCM)

made available in early February a downloaded impressions metric that counts impressions when creative has started to load. This was already the standard measurement across video tags, interstitials, tracking ads, and desktop Chrome-served impressions prior to the February launch of the metric. With this shift, Active View calculations are now based on downloaded impressions, causing viewability rates to increase.

In Q3 of 2017, DCM standard tags will no longer be available for use, as these tags do not support downloaded impressions. The previous ad-call impression count will no longer be available, and all impression counts will be based on downloaded impressions only.

Initial February campaign results across multiple campaigns, represented below, show that about 99% of total ad-call impressions are downloaded impressions. This percentage can range on a campaign-by-campaign basis, but is typically within the 96%-99% range.


Ad-Call Impressions Downloaded Impressions % Difference
27,380,758 27,029,961 -1%

/ Types of Tags

Standard tags, which do not support downloaded impressions, only serve ads with creative. Creative can vary in size, but usually includes 1×1 tracking pixels for site-served creatives.

Tracking tags are implemented within creative that is served directly by the publisher or partner. There is no creative attached, differentiating tracking tags from standard tags. They export as an impression and click tracker for each placement, compared to 1×1 standard pixels that only track impressions.

INS tag versions, the recommended tag for serving creative, work for iframe or JavaScript but automatically reconfigure these tags to use HTML parameters upon download. When the INS tag fires on a site, HTML attributes will change to align with corresponding parameters in the tag and return the requested content. So, if HTML parameters call for Creative A, that creative will be served.

/ Implications for marketers

The change in impression volume will help marketers as it provides a more accurate count of how many times an ad has loaded on the page. However, the shift in measuring downloaded impressions results in trafficking procedure changes, as some tag formats will no longer be supported.

In Q3 of 2017, marketers will no longer be able to use standard tags. Advertisers should also replace standard tag 1×1 pixels with tracking tags. When serving creative directly through DCM, other third-party tag formats should be used in place of standard tags: Iframe/JavaScript, Internal Redirect, or JavaScript. DoubleClick recommends using INS tags, as it provides more accurate Active View measurements and are trafficked the same in the DoubleClick platform – but will need to be chosen as a tag option when exporting. Although standard tags will continue to serve after the Q3 switch, impressions will total zero as they will not be able to measure downloaded impressions.






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