"Data Driven Thinking" is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media. Today's column is written by Mark Hughes, CEO of C3 Metrics.
It was a Michael Lewis book before it was a Sandra Bullock movie. Published in 2006, "The Blind Side" stated very elegantly what most football strategists had already begun to figure out. If your most important player in the game (quarterback) gets injured, you can kiss success goodbye.
Internet strategists have begun to see the same thing and taking steps to protect their most valuable asset. For DSPs and networks, it’s their intelligence, their targeting techniques, their day-parting, and their science. For advertisers, it’s their budgets. But the common denominator that hangs a huge question mark around both is their blind side, an issue the industry is attempting to solve with viewable impression standards. We estimate 68% or more of display ads are never seen by consumers, and initiatives like the cross-industry Making Measurement Make Sense coalition are hoping to eliminate the blind side and create a more efficient marketplace.
The proverbial Internet quarterback is the RTB platform. Despite all the infrastructure and real-time intelligence within RTB, if the blind side of viewable impressions isn’t covered, it knocks the wind out of increasing revenue for everyone using these display inventory platforms.
The challenge with iFrames, specifically iFrames that come from a different domain delivering ads, is that the viewable impression code within the iFrame is not able to access the publisher page due to the “Same Origin Policy."
As Mozilla defines it (dating back to the grandfathers of browsers Netscape Navigator 2.0): "The same origin policy prevents a document or script loaded from one origin from getting or setting properties of a document from another origin."
Essentially the authors of the same origin policy wanted to prevent the loss of data confidentiality or integrity with strict separation between content provided by unrelated sites. This permits scripts running on pages originating from the same site to access each other's methods and properties with no specific restrictions, but prevents access to most methods and properties across pages on different sites.
This is why the blind side of cross-domain iFrames is so difficult, and why it is one of the most common questions asked on Stack Overflow.
Several workarounds to access properties of the publisher page are possible, but all require the participation of the publisher, which presents additional compliance issues. It’s a difficult problem.