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Ad Impression Measurement Guidelines

In November 2004, the AIA and its members, with the support of major global organizations involved in the advertising and research disciplines, joined together to issue a global standard for counting online ad impressions.

The initiative marked a number of significant firsts in the advertising industry. It was the first time that any advertising medium had developed a measurement standard that measures the ad itself, as delivered to a consumer, versus other media that measure the programming or content. It was also the first time a medium had launched a “global” measurement standard that has now been accepted by key industry stakeholder organizations in the U.S., Europe, Asia and Latin America. Other media (such as television, radio and magazines) use different measuring techniques depending on country and region. These firsts should be considered major strategic advantages for the Interactive medium.

This landmark effort was intended to free the market from any existing confusion about how ad impressions should be counted and would provide industry transparency to the systems that measure ads. This last part is a critical indication to the maturing of a 10+ year industry.

With a series of ad format-specific guidelines, advertisers, agencies and publishers are better able to gauge the performance of their campaigns by standardizing when and how an ad impression is counted. These guidelines satisfy the needs of the global media-buying community by offering consistent and accurate data, which in turn, will hasten the growth of Internet advertising spending by simplifying the buying and selling process for advertisers, marketers and publishers.

Among other key points, the guidelines offer a detailed definition for counting an ad impression, which is a critical component in establishing consistent and accurate online advertising measurements across publishers and ad serving technologies.

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