The concept of duration-weighted video impressions is scheduled to become somewhat a unified standard for valuing TV and digital video advertising exposure in January, 2021, and it’s time to get a grip on it.

When the Media Rating Council (MRC) presented the draft provision on the new cross-media duration-weighted impression measurement standard back in spring of 2019, it immediately caused numerous heated discussions across the industry.

Now that the cross-media DWI standard will come into action in less than 6 months, it’s time to dive into its potential benefits and drawbacks for the digital video advertising market once again.

Check out the AdPlayer.Pro guide and find out everything you need to know about duration weighting in digital video advertising.

What is Duration Weighting?

In brief, “duration-weighted viewable video impressions” (DWI) are basically a qualifier of the fact that a video ad creative rendered, that a video ad impression was actually counted, and if the ad view wasn’t completed, then by how much.

In plain words, duration weighting implies the division of the total [unduplicated] duration viewable by the length of a video ad creative:

DWI = ∑ viewable time / video ad length

According to the MRC guidelines, duration weighting measurement should be based on the second-level granularity, and needs to account for viewers’ inactivity and session cutoffs.

Relatively, viewable video ad impressions that include the duration weighting component are, thus, subject for input into the evaluation of reach & gross rating point (GRP) of a video ad campaign.

Controversies around DWI

As many marketers admit, the potential problem with duration weighting is that it neither factors in audience engagement & affinity measurement, nor other aspects making an impact on the video ad effectiveness (e.g. ad context, ad quality, video ad format, etc.).

However, the key issue with duration-weighted viewable impressions is that the concept itself is mistakenly perceived as the outcome metric, when in fact it’s solely the exposure KPI.

The truth is, duration weighting has nothing to do with either attention, or affinity measurement, i.e. it provides no information on whether the target viewers actually saw and/or liked the video ad. In fact, it only acts somewhat as a proof of video ad performance, and nothing beyond that.

More importantly, as ad executives agree, the industry-wide adoption of a DWI concept enables improving media planning activities, managing video ad frequency more efficiently, while establishing the level playing field for video marketing efforts.

Therefore, while duration weighting as an actionable metric may have a valuable input in video ad measurement, it’s vital to analyze a broad range of factors alongside, like the video ad format & placement, brand’s messaging, ad quality, audience attention & engagement, and many more. 

Read more about duration-weighted viewable impressions in the MRC’s official guide.