All about Impression Discrepancies If you sell your programmatic ad inventory to an ad network, it’s very common for a very unpleasant phenomenon to occur called an impression discrepancy. In the digital advertising ecosystem, impression discrepancies are very common and unavoidable but there are ways to help reduce the impression discrepancy or work with an ad network to make sure the deal you have set up is actually providing you increased revenue and worthwhile to allow them to media buy on your inventory.
What is an Impression Discrepancy and why does it happen?
An impression discrepancy is a loss or “leakage” of impressions tracked by the reporting system of the ad network. For example, if your analytic reporting shows that you sent an ad network 100,000 impressions but the ad network shows in their reporting system that they tracked and monetized 90,000, then there is a 10% ad serving discrepancy. Unfortunately this is an accepted reality in digital advertising as there are thousands of different technologies working in real time and codes are not always 100% compatible with each other server to server. The industry standard discrepancy is typically 10% and anything over that is considered high and steps should be taken to resolve. Here are the best practices to deal and resolve impression discrepancies.
How to Calculate Impression Discrepancy
Your Imps – Their Imps Over Your Imps
Best Practices to Resolve Impression Discrepancy:
Create a Discrepancy Report- The easiest way to monitor discrepancies with your ad network partner is to create a daily report that is updated by both parties to compare impression counts from both ends. With a simple report you can analyze trends from a large standpoint to see if what days, units, sizes and geographical locations it is coming from. It is important to fully understand where impressions are being lost and create a strategy accordingly.
Create a Discrepancy Clause in the IO – Sometimes discrepancy is unavoidable in the way you setup your ad stack, like the cpm floor model while threads in multiple demand sources competing for the impression. Most ad networks will agree to an impression split where if the discrepancy is over a certain threshold on a daily basis or aggregate at the end of the billing cycle, an additional amount of impressions will be added to and paid for at a fixed CPM point. If you are a publisher it is important to understand the value of your ad inventory and know you have the upper hand with the ad network. They will investigate the discrepancy if they think you are going to leave them for a new partner.
Ask to go off of your server numbers – It’s worth a shot to ask your partner to go off of your server numbers in certain situations. If you are running custom, high impact units such as a rich media slider, there are likely going to be load balancing issues that cause sometimes over 20% discrepancies. The network will want to keep these high performing units going and sometimes will even allow the impressions to be tracked on your end. now that is an ideal situation!