LONDON: The UK's Joint Industry Committee for Web Standards (JICWEBS) has produced recommended guidelines for products that aim to measure the viewability of online video.

The Viewability Product Principles have been developed following consultation with media owners, technology suppliers and other industry bodies and apply to products reporting the opportunity to see banner and video content in a website environment (excluding mobile).

The guidelines tackle four areas, around the reporting of the area viewable and for how long, reporting viewable impressions, disclosing what is measured and measurement and asset render requirements.

The move comes at a time when spending on video advertising is growing rapidly – three times faster than overall online spend according to IAB UK data – and "consequently, advertisers are becoming more focused in their demand for greater transparency in this area," said Richard Foan JICWEBS' Chairman.

"This update helps their conversations with the sell-side and viewability vendors, to improve understanding of and trust in digital advertising," he added.

The new guidelines were welcomed by Mark Finney, director of media and advertising at advertiser body ISBA, who described viewability as "a fundamental issue for all our members".

After all, he said, "you can't be made aware of a preference for a brand, much less be motivated to buy a product, if you can't see the advertising".

Media owners too were on board with the process which, Tim Faircliff, Executive Chairman, AOP, said "ultimately benefits both themselves and their advertiser clients".

At the same time, JICWEBS issued seals – valid for 12 months – to 36 organisations confirming their processes meet industry-agreed standards to reduce the risk of ads being served next to inappropriate or illegal content online.

Foan noted that 30 of those 36 companies were picking up their second or third certification, "which demonstrates their on-going commitment to maximising brand safety for their clients".

Data sourced from JICWEBS; additional content by Warc staff