What is ad impression discrepancy?

Impression discrepancy can be a huge problem if you are working with an ad network and sending them large amounts of your digital inventory. impression discrepancy occurs when impressions are lost when you send an ad network impressions for them to fill with advertisements. The end result is a watered down eCPM and reduced revenue that you earn from the advertisers. The first step to resolve impression discrepancy is to learn how to calculate impression discrepancy.

Unfortunately digital advertising technology and website code is not always universal. Advertisements need to be called on by an ad server in 200 milliseconds, which is both a blessing and a curse. the industry accepted standard for discrepancy is 10%.

Reasons why impression discrepancy occurs:

  • Two reporting systems do not calculate impression discrepancy correctly due to different time zones in the report.
  • Ad blocking software such as AdSafe eliminates certain impressions, skewing the count.
  • Impression waterfall of multiple ad networks with passback tags lose impressions when ad servers fail to “talk” to each other.
  • Mobile impressions generally contribute to higher impression discrepancy percentages.
  • Ad network is not taking the impressions and are serving PSA’s or blanks that are not reflected in reporting.
  • IP mapping is not the same in the 3rd party ad serving technology.
  • Creatives that have large file sizes take too long to load and impressions are lost.
  • Javascript tag but the user does not have javascript turned on in their browser.
  • A cachebuster is not hardcoded in the ad tag. Cachebusters ensure that the creative is pulled from the adserver rather then the web page.

How to Calculate Impression discrepancy formula

How to calculate impression discrepancy

Calculate Impression Discrepancy: Your Imps – Their Imps Over Your Imps

Now that you know how to calculate impression discrepancy, crunch the numbers and find out how much revenue you are losing before learn how to resolve it.

Best Practices to Resolve Impression Discrepancy:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Test out new tags : If the original tags that you have implemented are creating abnormal discrepancy levels, ask the ad network to issue you a new iteration of the tag. It should be very simple for the ad network to send you over a fresh set of iFrame, or Javascript tags with referrers, click trackers and other modifications that may reduce discrepancy.
  4. 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!

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