As initially forecasted, IAB Tech Lab released Open Measurement SDK for Web Video in the middle of December 2020. Now’s the time to get down to its implementation.
Well, in case you didn’t hear it, OM SDK for Web Video has arrived.
Simply put, it’s a newly-developed standard for measuring and verifying video ad performance on desktop and mobile web, launched by IAB Tech Lab on December 17. 2020, just two years upon the initial introduction of its Open Measurement SDK for in-app ads.
According to the official announcement, the market-wide adoption of the new standard is being encouraged by July 2021. Yet, what’s exciting is that, unlike the previously introduced iterations for Android and iOS, the recent release is likely to breed greater interest from the side of publishers, as well as advertisers and video ad providers right away, for some obvious reasons.
Taking Advantage of Open Measurement SDK for Web Video
The fact is, OM Web Video SDK is aimed at reducing the market dependency on VPAID for video ad viewability verification and invalid traffic detection, hence being a step closer to the smoother video ad integration and the higher measurement transparency across the entire supply chain.
More importantly, while introducing a unified way to track the performance of video ads, delivered in an HTML5 player on desktop and mobile web, the standard specifically addresses publishers’ need to have sufficient security and control over their web properties and the video ad tech used.
Namely, it enables publishers to assign granular access permissions to third-party video ad vendors’ JS tags, based on their preferences. The available access modes, in particular, include the following three options:
- Creative access implies giving direct verification access to a third-party vendor, via loading their JS tags in the same or a so-called friendly iFrame with the video ad.
- Domain access implies rendering of a vendor’s JS tag in a sandboxed iFrame with a set of specific configuration parameters, hence limiting their direct verification capabilities of video ads, while enabling the verification of a publisher’s web property at the same time.
- Limited access implies rendering third-party JS tags in a sandboxed iFrame, with no direct verification access to either a video ad creative, or the publisher’s web property domain.
Unwrapping OM Web Video SDK Technical Specs
The OM Web Video SDK solution itself comprises the following components: a JS library, aimed at the detection of video ad measurement events, and the OMID API, standardizing the collection of ad measurement signals.
In particular, the scope of tracked ad events includes:
- video ad session details (e.g. start & finish) and any ad errors tracked during it,
- video ad lifecycle events (including the quartile-based ad viewability and completion rate tracking), and
- user interactions with the creative (e.g. ad clicks, player size and/or volume changes, etc.).
How to Integrate OM Web Video SDK
The release of OM SDK for Web Video comes with a comprehensive integration guide for publishers and implies a transparent certification program for integration partners, as well as the so-to-speak validation service for web property owners who are setting up Domain access mode for their third-party verification vendors.
Let’s see how these work in more detail.
According to the onboarding documentation, integration partners can implement OM Web Video SDK into their video ad player tech, advertising SDKs, or their proprietary monetization stacks (see onboarding guide for integration partners for more details).
Meanwhile, a publisher wishing to onboard a particular certified integration partner needs to:
1. Load the OM Web Video SDK service script.
Note! The script from https://tools.iabtechlab.com must be downloaded into a same-origin and friendly iFrame with the ad creative.
2. Select one of the three access modes to apply (creative access, domain access or limited access).
3. Communicate with their integration partner on further implementation specifics.
As for the onboarding with the Domain access, the process requires providing proof of the publisher’s domain to the loaded measurement scripts via an HTML file, known as the OM SDK Domain Loader.
The unmodified IAB Tech Lab’s file is hosted on a publisher’s domain or subdomain, e.g. with the following path: https://example.com/well-known/omid/omloader.html and is served with such HTTP headers, as:
(a) X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN
(b) Content-Security-Policy: frame-ancestors ‘self’ (e.g. https://www.example.com)
How to Apply for Domain Access Validation
Having implemented OM SDK for Web Video in a domain access mode, a publisher may also apply for a voluntary domain access validation, which implies the IAB Tech Lab’s ongoing crawl (on a weekly basis) of the loader file on the publisher’s domain/subdomain to verify their web properties actually meet onboarding requirements.
The validation results will be made available for measurement vendors’ access in a readable form to identify issues and arrange fixes, if any, in a timely manner (see example here: https://transparencycenter.iabtechlab.com/compliance/omsdk/domainaccessvalidation).
Note! If the video ad player has been onboarded on several subdomains, a publisher needs to host a domain loader file on each of them, and further apply each of these separately for a weekly validation.The registration for Domain Access validation is available at the IAB Tech Lab portal at https://tools.iabtechlab.com, and requires the publisher’s payment of an annual fee (see compliance pricing here).