Description of Methodology
This Description of Methodology describes the ad impression measurement methodologies of Glam Media’s GlamAdapt platform.
Within the scope of this document are all systems and processes which Glam Media has audited as per both Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and Media Ratings Council (MRC) guidelines. These include:
- The GlamAdapt Ad Server
- Splash, Glam’s rich media platform
- GlamAdapt Network Services (Glam Media’s publisher network management technology)
- The GlamAdapt Insider (Self Serve Publisher tools for publisher partners)
- Glam Media's trafficking and ad operations processes, and the reports generated for end users
The numbers and measurement outlined in this Description of Methodology relate to online display and rich media advertising impressions only.
These impressions may be generated by the delivery of standard and rich media ad units, including flash creatives, image creatives, and expandable units, both hosted by Glam Media and delivered through third party ad servers.
This Description of Methodology does not cover click measurement or added value metrics, relating to user engagement and interaction.
Impression measurements are based on actual measurement as all valid impressions are counted. As a result, there are no statistical projections or estimates utilized.
The ad selection process is initiated via a <script src="…"></script> tag that must be included anywhere inside the template of a page where an advertisement is desired.
Each ad placement requires its own <script> tag and triggers ad selection and data logging processes that are independent from any other ad tags on the page. This means that while the targeting capabilities of the GlamAdapt ad server allow for delivery of roadblocks or other types of coordination between the ad units contained within a page, the mechanics of each ad call follow a stateless procedure for the ad selection and logging.
From the client/server protocol perspective, the selection of an ad triggers the following events:
|The data center with that is the closest to the client computer receives the request and validates the authenticity of the ad call|
|The Ad Request Load Balancer sends the request to one of the many servers available in the data center|
|Once the Ad Server verifies that the client computer has received the response, all of the information related to the ad call is saved in a local log file. GlamAdapt’s log processing facility downloads logs from all servers on the network every five minutes.|
The logging mechanism described above constitutes an “ad selection time server side” logging process and is the general methodology followed to log information on all ad calls. For high availability purposes, an alternate client-side methodology is followed in case of a system malfunction that leads to unresponsive servers. Such process is described below.
Each request is cache busted using a unique random number generator that is set on the client computer. That variable is sent in the request as a key value pair with the ‘ord’ name. Once the request reaches the GlamAdapt network, it also receives an Edge Unique Request Id (euid) that is a function of the timestamp, ip address, user agent and a random number and that will become the unique identifier of the request within the network. The ord and the euid are used by subsequent de-duplication process to ensure that each ad displayed is only counted once.
In addition to this, the GlamAdapt servers respond using cache-control headers to inform the browser that the request is not to be cached. See example below:
|Expires||:||Mon, 27 Sep 2010 16:52:53 GMT|
|Cache-Control||:||max-age=0, no-cache, no-store|
|Date||:||Mon, 27 Sep 2010 16:52:53 GMT|
We acknowledge the possibility that some requests may yet be cached, but we do not believe this caching has a material effect on impression counts.
Logging Method and Frequency: Glam Media uses geo-distributed HTTP servers to capture all ad requests/transactions in real time.
Types of Data Collected and Contents of Log Files: Log files contain all necessary information for identifying the following with regard to the Ad/Event Transaction: Date/Time, Geo Information, IP address, Ad/Creative identifiers, Affiliate/Publisher Identifiers, User Session information, User Agent information, and Referring URL. In addition, some metrics and statistics are collected for internal analysis in order to help improve the Ad Serving Experience.
Frequency of Retrieval and Processing: Glam Media retrieves each log type every five minutes from its pool of ad servers. A collection process then pushes these logs to a centralized location where they are available for import. Log processing daemons import log files as they become available.
A nightly ETL process performs additional validation of the imported data and makes it available to Glam Media’s reporting systems.
Pop-up blockers: The client computer may have a pop-up or pop-under blocker installed. In such scenario, a call to GlamAdapt that successfully counted an ad impression may result in the user not seeing the ad.
Domain-based ad Blockers: The client computer may have a Domain based ad Blocker installed. In this case, the ad call to GlamAdapt will not occur and therefore no ad will be logged nor viewed by the end user.
Image rendering disabled: The client computer may have Image rendering disabled. In this case, the ad call to GlamAdapt could result into a selection of an ad that although it is being logged, will not be viewed by the end user.
Abandonment Disclosure: As noted above, ad servers are given a minimal time to respond to a request. However, Glam is not able to control the user’s browser session. It is assumed that some abandonment may occur prior to the recording of an ad impression.
GlamAdapt implements several mechanisms to identify unwanted activity and remove it from the aggregates that expose data to the business. These filtration techniques include:
|Logging data discrepancy issues in our internal tracking system|
|Identifying the browser’s agent as non-human-originated traffic before the ad selection is made, and not responding with a paid-for ad|
|Identifying Invalid or incomplete requests that will be rejected from ad selection|
|Identifying Internal or test traffic, generated by Glam Media users during Quality Assurance procedures|
Glam Media applies all possible automated and manual means in order to discard unwanted activity; however, due to the nature of the technology environment in which GlamAdapt serves ad requests, it is unlikely that all invalid activity can be excluded from the final reported results.
GlamAdapt ad impressions are filtered during the logging, import and aggregation process for non-human traffic, internal traffic and invalid events.
Non-Human Traffic: During the ad request and logging process, both the IP address of the request, as well as the User Agent involved in the request are captured. This information is used to identify the nature of the request during the recording and serving of the impression, as well as the classification of the impression after the fact. If a request is made by a known or unknown Robot (an application used to index or test a site containing Ads) – it is flagged as such before it hits an ad server. In the event that the ad request is made by a robot, the request to the ad server captures that fact, and an ad intended for non-human traffic is selected and served. The list of known robots used to make this determination is the IAB International Robot and Spider List. The list of known browsers used to make this determination is the IAB International Known Browser Type List.
Invalid request: In some situations the ad server is unable to understand or record an ad request in its entirety. Requests which are incomplete and lack the minimum information in order to accurately identify the request are rejected.
Activity-Based Filtration: Internal audits are performed on all incoming ad traffic. Any material activity that has been identified as being incorrect either due to setup or technology issues, or has been identified as suspicious due to the nature of events will be investigated further and removed pending outcome of investigation. If a particular site is found to have such traffic, it will be identified and blocked from ad serving until the situation is resolved.
Internal Testing Traffic: All material or automated testing is either performed with a known robot agent, or against ads specifically set up and identified as Test Ads. This traffic is filtered passively as part of the reporting process.
Internal Traffic: All traffic that has been identified as internal due to the IP address of the request is filtered from the final reporting to Publishers as well as Advertisers. Some traffic generated on internal IP addresses will result in the normal selection of an ad, though the amount of traffic generated in this category is small enough to not have a material impact on standard discrepancies at the advertiser or publisher level. Note that we do not identify traffic initiated by our clients or partners, as such, those impressions are not filtered from the final reporting to our Publishers or Advertisers.
Auto Refresh: Some Glam Publishers use auto-refresh features on their sites. All site traffic is audited and monitored for such material scenarios which may result from this practice, though it is not forbidden. The nature of some publisher sites require this activity. In the event that the site practice proves to be problematic, they are contacted and the nature of their refreshes is reviewed.
De-Duplication: In the event that the first request to an ad server does not result in an ad selection within internally determined time thresholds, the ad request is made to a second machine. If the second request also does not return quickly enough a default non-paid ad is served. As part of the daily aggregation of the impression data, each of these impressions (which are identified as the same Edge Unique Request Id) which are not the final served impression are discarded from the reporting aggregate. See 'Measurement Methodology' above.
All ad impression requests that are not invalid are recorded. Based on the reporting need or methodology as described above they may or may not be filtered. Any filtration, however, is performed as a function of the reporting process as these impressions, with the exception of duplicate requests, are not discarded outright.
Splash, Glam’s proprietary rich media platform, delivers rich media advertising, and the associated engagement metrics on that advertising.
Specifically, per industry norms, Splash requires the upload and identification of backup creative assets (such as images), for all creatives — to be delivered when a user’s browser does not support Flash, or any other platform required in the delivery of the rich media version of the ad.
Impression for the ads delivered by Splash, on the Adapt ad serving platform, will be counted by GlamAdapt, in terms of auditable impression data.
Glam Media reports data to advertisers and publishers. The level of reporting currently varies between Publishers and Advertisers.
Publishers: Glam Media provides relatively real time data access to the Publishers. The Publishers have access daily to the latest traffic and revenue data. The data is considered to be preliminary until the close of the billing period, at which point the data is finalized. The preliminary data may be updated up until the time it is finalized.
Advertisers: Glam Media reports monthly for financial and billing purposes, with the invoice being the primary/official mechanism for reporting. This cycle provides additional time and information accumulation for these processes prior to data being finalized.
Reporting Overview: The reporting tools are setup to run against the Reporting Aggregates generated by the ETL process. The reports are setup to run on different frequencies, depending upon the aggregate table in use and the purpose of the individual reports. The results returned by the reports are available in multiple formats, depending on the reporting interface.
GlamAdapt Impressions reports are available in the following formats: CSV, XLS, and XML. GlamSplash impression reports are available in the following formats: XLS. GlamInsider Publisher Revenue reports are available in the following formats: PDF, HTML, and XLS. GlamInsider Publisher Traffic reports are available in the following formats: CSV.
In addition to regularly scheduled reports, additional ad-hoc queries can be run. This methodology is commonly used for analyzing custom date ranges.
Report Filters, Flags, and Data Dimensions: The reporting data analytics have the ability to filter the report data based upon multiple key dimensions. For example, reports can be setup to automatically filter the aggregate data based upon Internal IP flag or the Agent Type. Alternatively, the data analytics may use these flags within the reports, as is the case with Audit reports designed to track Internal IP and Agent Types. Overall, the reporting infrastructure has the ability to report against a wide range of pertinent data dimensions. Besides Internal IP and Agent Types, these data dimension include ads, sites, Impressions, Clicks, Click Through Rate (CTR), Unique Visitors, Date ranges, various ad and site level attributes, and internal data tracking values. While Glam may filter and report on various metrics, display impressions are the only MRC accredited metrics. Rich media impressions are currently undergoing the MRC pre-accredidation process.
Reporting Periods: Data analytics is setup to run reports against several common date ranges based on EST. The most common ones are:
- Daily – shows yesterday's data (12 am – 11:59 pm)
- Monthly – data for month-to-date through yesterday.
- End of Month (EOM) – End of Month reporting covers the prior full month
- Weekly – the past 7 days of data, covering through yesterday.
- Hourly – allows for review of our hourly processing
- GlamInsider: Financial Statement: On screen, PDF
- GlamInsider: Other Reports: On screen, CSV, XLS
- GlamAdapt: On screen, CSV, XLS, XML
- GlamSplash: XLS
Glam Media performs regularly scheduled audits to detect any discrepancies in reported data. Glam Media reviews each data irregularity and takes appropriate corrective action when necessary.
Revised impression metrics will be reported when significant excluded or invalid activity is detected for a campaign after initial reporting but within 180 days.
Glam Media follows these steps when previously reported data needs to be corrected or reissued:
|Logging data discrepancy issues in our internal tracking system|
|Communication by Account Management to impacted parties indicating the nature of the data discrepancy, the cause, and resolution via appropriate front-end user tool or via e-mail.|
All electronic records are archived for 24 months.
Reporting Material Changes to Glam's Measurement Methodology: Clients will be notified in writing or via email of Glam’s intentions to change our measurement methodology. Clients will be notified at least 30 days in advance of the change in measurement methodology.