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The Trade Desk tackles in-app viewability measurement with InMobi and Rubicon Project

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Ad fraud is on everyone’s lips these days.

Whether we’re talking about off-screen mobile ads, fake clicks, or viewability issues, the industry is rife with problems. The good news? The industry is — piece by piece — coming together to right these wrongs.

Today, The Trade Desk joins the fray by announcing a collaboration with InMobi and Rubicon Project, creating what the company claims is a first-to-market in-app viewability measurement solution.

It has been widely accepted that there aren’t any simple ways to measure in-app viewability, which makes this announcement particularly important. So, how does this solution differ from other, more complex options?

“A key difference in our joint solution is that InMobi is the first SSP to enforce the adoption of a provider’s viewability measurement SDK and then audit their publishers for integration completeness and version control,” Tim Sims, SVP of inventory partnerships at The Trade Desk, told me. “Objective, third-party measurement is critical to making sure no one is grading their own homework.”

The alliance between DSPs and supply partners allows buyers to activate viewability metrics on in-app campaigns at scale.

But how does the solution work, and what do advertisers and marketers need to do to implement it?

“The Trade Desk places a third-party viewability measurement tag at bid time and can measure in-app viewability in a way similar to how web measurement is achieved,” Sims said. “With this integration, a differentiator is that app impressions will now be included in all optimization levers that are available in The Trade Desk’s platform. This has been one of the biggest hurdles that has prevented the growth and adoption of in-app traffic, and we plan to change that.”

Others have attempted to solve the in-app viewability issue before now. Integral Ad Science developed an open-source SDK that vendors can use for in-app verification, for example. Does this bear any relationship to that project?

“The open source SDK effort is not part of this project,” Sims said. “However, as the adoption of this SDK grows, it will complement our solution. With the bid request signal that InMobi is passing, they are able to tell us that any supported SDK is present, and we can bid with the right tag. For instance, InMobi currently sends eligibility for other vendors as well, and Integral Ad Science is one of them. Thus, this new approach offers a scalable way to signal back to us any new vendor.”

All of this is a step in the right direction for an industry that urgently needs transparency and reliable measurement solutions.

“It is critically important that advertisers have transparency, as well as consistent, independent measurement for all their media,” said Anne Frisbie, SVP and GM of global brand and programmatic at InMobi. “By working with The Trade Desk to support MRC-accredited viewability for mobile in-app programmatic buying, we are a step closer to fulfilling this promise. This will help advertisers gain a greater understanding of the value of in-app advertising, including in-app video advertising.”

So what is the future for in-app viewability measurement, and what are the next best steps the industry can take to reduce fraud?

“The use of objective measurement providers needs to be replicated throughout the industry and applied to all impressions across all formats to reduce fraud,” Sims said. “Several SSPs are now interested in this solution; we’d like this approach to become standardized and part of OpenRTB.”

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