IAB Updates Guidelines For Measuring 3D Ads For The Metaverse

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The Interactive Advertising Bureau relaunched some guidelines for measuring the effectiveness of in-game advertisements and eventually ads in the metaverse.

It was the first time since 2009 that the IAB, a standards body for the game and ad industries, took such action on in-game ads. Back then, many of the guidelines had to do with mobile ads that were fresh on the scene.

But this standard considers things that came with in-game 3D visuals for console, PC, mobile and virtual reality games. And in that way, the significance of these new guidelines is that it points the way to the metaverse, the universe of virtual worlds that are all interconnected, like in novels such as Snow Crash and Ready Player One. Setting such guidelines is an important part of creating the standards that allow massive changes and innovations — such as the metaverse — to come to computing and gaming.

In the past, 2D viewing was measurable. But with 3D, you can never tell if a gamer or a VR user is looking at an ad in a 3D space. So the group had to team up with the industry to figure out how to properly give credit for an ad being viewed — the main reason people pay for ads — and how to measure that view.

In a 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 ads that appear within gameplay. The release is open for public comment for 30 days until July 15, 2022.

When IAB released its current standard of in-game ad measurement standards in 2009, video games and advertising technology were in a vastly different stage of development. The updated standards will address ad viewability, measurement, inactivity, and fraud with intrinsic in-game ads bringing them up to par with the rest of digital media. For instance, an ad has to be viewed for at least three seconds before it gets credit for being viewed. That’s one way to circumvent any fraud relating to viewing.

But the value of such ads is important, as games are where the audiences are, at least the audiences that brands and others view as valuable targets for ads.

Intrinsic in-game ads refer to native in-game or in-play ads placed “in the game,” enabling a seamless part of the gameplay environment. As more companies enter the gaming ecosystem, IAB and IAB Tech Lab must gather the industry to help establish uniform standards to create consistency across the in-game advertising marketplace.

“Gaming represents a huge opportunity for marketers,” said Zoe Soon, vice president of IAB Experience Center. “With 227 million gamers in the US and over three billion globally by the end of this year, it’s a major entertainment channel, especially for Gen Z, the next generation of household decision-makers and spenders. We are updating the 2009 in-game guidelines to help marketers tap into this attention oasis and measure outcomes with confidence and transparency.”

The updated IIG measurement standards:

  • Re-examine the 10-second cumulative exposure duration for counting a valid impression, including “sight, sound, and motion” and 3D and virtual environments.
  • Incorporates new advertising formats beyond two-dimensional and video regarding viewability within 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 within in-game environments and guidelines for tracking impression measurement, display ad viewability, and invalid traffic, taken into account with various technical factors such as screen size, resolution, angle, and lighting,” said Shailley Singh, vice president of product at IAB Tech Lab,. “These will be important factors as we prepare to scale advertising in gaming and expand growth in advertising for marketers and their partners as they operate in a relatively new space.”

“Technology has advanced considerably since we and IAB issued our first set of guidelines for in-game ad measurement, which predated critical measurement concepts like ad viewability, so we must issue this update to address the accelerated growth of gaming,” said George Ivie, executive director and CEO at the MRC, in a statement. “Through the IIG measurement guidelines, we can now have greater consistency versus having vendors create their own rules for their measurements, enabling publisher and buyer trust as the industry works together to create a non-intrusive ad experience.”

The project is a joint effort between the IAB Experience Center, the IAB Tech Lab and the Media Rating Council, with considerable input from members of IAB UK and a task force of prominent in-game ad companies, brands, and agencies.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau is a trade group with more than 700 leading media companies, brands, agencies, and technology firms responsible for selling, delivering, and optimizing digital ad marketing campaigns.