IAB Video Standards and Guidelines: Measuring Digital Video Ads

20 Jul 2015

In 2008, IAB released the Digital Video In-Stream Ad Metric Definitions, guidelines meant to help publishers and marketers in the process of creating video advertising. These IAB Video Standards were further updated in a document released by IAB in 2014, as a necessity to build upon the technological advances that had taken place between the time periods.

This article includes the main updated IAB video standards and guidelines that serve to measure the efficiency of digital video ads as defined by the advertising organization.

Player Operation Metrics

Player operations are most commonly used to define consumer interaction with the player. These metrics distinguish between ad interaction and player interaction and are defined by operations that consumers perform, such as player expand, audio mute and un-mute, pause, resume, skip, player collapse, and rewind.


Impression metrics serve video campaigns to indicate the total number of ads served. However, to fire an impression, the ad in the video player has to show that it is compliant with the digital video measurement guidelines found on the IAB’s site. Thus, what impression metrics do is indicate that a video ad displayed in the player complies with IAB video standards.

Video Click-Through Rate

Although now considered less important in measuring video campaigns, CTR metrics are still widely used to measure user clicks on an advertisement, clicks that usually take the user to the advertiser’s landing or the product page. The main advantage of video click-through is that it is able to capture an active user’s response.

Percent Complete

Completion rates metrics determine how many users have watched an ad up to a given interval (25%, 50%, and 75%) at normal speed. IAB recommends using percent complete metrics whether or not other measurement methods are used.

Completion Play Rates

Completion rates measure the number of plays that have reached 100% in playing at normal speed.

Time Spent Viewing

These metrics indicate the amount of time that users spend watching the video at normal speed. It also includes the number of seconds added by rewind events.

Invitation rate

Invitation rates are a type of performance metrics that come with interactive ad formats, which measure user activity that launches additional ad content.

The metrics above serve to indicate the performance and efficiency of video advertising in today’s digital advertising landscape, but as the latter evolves along with new technology, we will undoubtedly be in need of more advanced guidelines and guidelines tailored to specific ad formats. IAB defined metrics for video advertising within an application to, for example, measure the progress either through the video ad or through the application content during the advertisement.

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