“Having a unified tag was absolutely a driver for the design of the solution,” noted Scott Knoll, CEO of Integral Ad Science. “Since you’re dealing with one tag instead of two, it’s easier to manage and lighter in the browser than two separate tags.”
Tag unification was also a driver with Nielsen's earlier partnership with Adobe for Nielsen's Digital Content Ratings cross-platform metric.
Clarken said using the Adobe tags and architecture in that instance allowed it to pull cross-platform measurement into Nielsen’s system and reduce the friction that would have otherwise existed if Adobe and Nielsen went about things separately.
“This is why you see us forming relationships with Integral Ad Science and others,” she said. “By forming these alliances and partnerships, you make this as friction-free as possible for the content owners.”
Nielsen’s expanded partnership with IAS comes just days after Facebook revealed it would open up third-party viewability verification on its platform through independent provider Moat.
Clarken doesn’t view individual seller/verification vendor alliances as counterproductive to Nielsen’s efforts.
“The marketplace is still establishing rules between buyers and sellers around what constitutes a viewable impression,” she said. “Media owners and brands have their own perspective, and we don’t know where that will settle. But we ultimately want to take the rules established by the marketplace and embed them in our system” while strictly adhering to the Media Rating Council’s provisions.
Regardless of agreed upon rules, Clarken noted the many challenges that remain around establishing viewability parameters for certain formats, particularly mobile video.
Put simply, integrating measurement with mobile ad tech is hard, she said.
“At the moment, even the best players out there have to build out SDKs that are very complex and cumbersome,” she said. “Putting software into an environment where the screen is constantly moving between browser and apps with different video formats rendering is difficult.”