Skip to main content

Experience new growth possibilities with Microsoft Advertising today >

Blog post

Demystify and Advocate for IAB/MRC Retail Media Measurement Guidelines

April 11, 2024
Two people smiling while working on a laptop at work

How Microsoft Retail Media (powered by PromoteIQ) helps retailers and advertisers comply with data transparency, accuracy, privacy, and security.

Retail media has been growing rapidly in the past few years. According to eMarketer, retail media ad spending is predicted to reach $60 billion in the US alone by 2024 and is on track to increase by nearly $100 billion between 2020 and 2025.

However, the lack of consistent and transparent measurement standards has been a major challenge for the industry, as advertisers investing in retail media struggle to evaluate the performance of their retail media campaigns across different platforms and formats.

To address this issue, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and the Media Rating Council (MRC) have recently published the Retail Media Measurement Guidelines, a set of standards and best practices for retail media in everything from data collection and reporting.

IAB/MRC developed a modern measurement framework that encompasses retail media onsite, offsite, and in-store. The guidelines cover various aspects of retail media measurement, such as viewability, attribution, fraud prevention, data privacy, and auditing.

Microsoft Retail Media’s Head of Growth, Betty Chung, was thrilled to be part of the report and help shape the retail media industry standards. Betty shared her insights from working on this report.

“These guidelines are crucial to support the continuous growth and investment in retail media, as the framework provides more transparency in the results of a retail media campaign. At Microsoft Retail Media, we create a unified omnichannel retail media offering to help retailers transform their retail business.

With Microsoft Retail Media, retailers can fully enable their advertisers to connect with shoppers through onsite, offsite, and in-store activations—with the confidence and trust that our solutions follow the measurement standards developed by IAB/MRC.”

Microsoft Retail Media is fully supportive of MRC (Media Rating Council) accreditation for Retail Media, which shows industry leadership and dedication to promoting progress in retail media approaches.

Why are the IAB/MRC Retail Media Measurement Guidelines crucial to retailers, advertisers, agencies, and shoppers?

The Retail Media Measurement Guidelines are expected to benefit retailers, advertisers, and media agencies in the retail media ecosystem, as they provide a much‑needed framework for evaluating performance and optimizing ad dollars.

For retailers, the guidelines will help them demonstrate the value and impact of their retail media program, which should lead to incremental ad dollars and program engagements from advertisers.

For advertisers and media agencies, the guidelines will help teams plan, execute, and optimize retail media campaigns with more clarity. The guidelines also empower teams to compare the effectiveness of different retail media platforms and formats.

The guidelines will likely foster more trust and collaboration among industry stakeholders, especially between the buy and sell sides, because everyone can have a common language and clear understanding of retail media measurement.

Lastly, shoppers will benefit from the guidelines by experiencing a safer shopping environment. Shoppers will know that their data will not be used inappropriately.

Meeting the IAB/MRC Retail Media Measurement Guidelines

The guidelines address various facets of retail media measurement for onsite, offsite, and in-store, following three domains:

  1. Transparency and consistency
  2. Accuracy and reliability
  3. Privacy and security

Microsoft Retail Media ensures that our retailers and advertisers can use our solutions to comply with the essential standards in the guidelines.

Transparency and consistency

Microsoft Retail Media provides consistent, transparent reporting for the onsite, offsite, and in-store products, so retailers and advertisers can easily generate helpful and relevant insights using a variety of reports.

With over 100 metrics available in the platform, advertisers can tie their online and offline ad investments back to sales conversions with the closed‑loop measurement.

In addition to clear reporting, Microsoft Retail Media provides easy‑to‑understand documentation on reporting metrics, measurement solutions, and attribution models. This also responds to the clarity needs outlined in the guidelines.

As the Digital Services Act (DSA) is now being enforced in European Union (EU), we also offer a technical solution for our EU retailers to easily show required ad information, such as the ad payer and advertiser name, on their retail websites, facilitating ad transparency for their advertisers and shoppers.

Accuracy and reliability

For retailers powering their retail media programs, the new IAB/MRC guidelines recommend implementing invalid traffic (IVT) filtration and viewability. Microsoft Retail Media has powered retailers and advertisers on both fronts, increasing data accuracy across measurement, reporting, and billing.

Microsoft Retail Media offers an effective solution to filter IVT for retail websites. We filter the bots listed on the IAB/ABCe* International Spiders & Bots List and Microsoft Advertising’s list as well as the ones detected by our leading AI technology to ensure only accurate data—such as ad impressions and ad clicks—are captured in reporting and billing.

With our solution, advertisers can spend every dollar on meaningful engagements, improving budget spending effectiveness. And the retailers using our IVT filtration solution have measured incremental growth in gross merchandise value (GMV) without a drop in ad revenue. This means that our solution has effectively filtered the invalid traffic, and ad budgets are spent on valid, meaningful traffic.

With Viewability, retailers and advertisers can track and measure the actual ad viewership of display ads, leveraging both the “views” and “impressions” metrics to optimize banner campaigns. And advertisers have the opportunity to bid by viewable cost‑per‑mille (vCPM), paying for accurate ad viewership.

Beyond ensuring the data source is reliable, we also ensure sales conversions are attributed accurately. Today, we offer a comprehensive attribution framework for retailers, so they can tailor the most suitable sales and campaign metrics for their advertisers, empowering them to optimize performance with accuracy and relevance.

For example, retailers and advertisers can see the product sales generated in the past 30 days with a brand halo or calculate the return on ad spend (ROAS) achieved in the past 14 days with a category halo.

Privacy and security

Microsoft believes that privacy is a human right. Microsoft Retail Media prioritizes data privacy and security by implementing privacy‑by‑design in all products and features.

We only handle user data in ways they would reasonably expect, anonymizing, aggregating, and masking personal identifiable information (PII) during data processing. We’re open and honest, providing user access to clear and updated privacy terms. Users can control how their data is collected, used, and stored. Additionally, users can request data deletion at any time.

We only use retailers’ first-party shopper data permissioned and consented by retailers and shoppers, so the deprecation of third‑party cookies will not impact our retailers and advertisers. Also, this approach designated us a “data processor” given we only process the consented first‑party data, complying with data regulations, such as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which is why international retailers and advertisers trust and choose us as a reliable partner.

As part of Microsoft, we aim to adhere to strict consumer privacy commitments. Microsoft Retail Media doesn’t create user profiles using retailers’ first‑party data. Simply put, we leave each retailer’s shopper data in their own retail media program. In turn, retailers can leverage Microsoft audience data when using our offsite retail media offerings by activating AI‑powered audience intelligence.

From IAB/MRC to DSA, and GDPR to CCPA, Microsoft Retail Media is actively empowering and advocating retailers and advertisers to comply with various data regulations and industry standards in retail media programs.

As an industry leader of cutting‑edge technologies, like generative AI, we believe it’s more crucial than ever to protect data security and user privacy and advocate for data transparency and accuracy.

The goal of Microsoft Advertising is to shape the industry and to provide effective identity solutions while respecting the rights and preferences of shoppers. So, as part of Microsoft Advertising, Microsoft Retail Media will continue building and enhancing our retail media measurement solutions. We do this by collaborating with clients and partners, and driving clarity, scale, and business results for both retailers and advertisers.

Connect with our retail media experts today to see how you can leverage our unified retail media offerings with future‑proof solutions. Reach out to us via this contact form to learn more.


  • Anny Zhang


    Anny Zhang
  • Xu Yao


    Xu Yao

Recommended for you

Blog post

New web insights and other product updates for June

Check out Microsoft Advertising’s June product roundup with a recap of what’s recently been released.

June 07, 2023

A woman smiling while working on her laptop computer.

Blog post

Maintaining advertising performance as mobile attribution erodes

Consumers can opt out of ad tracking, impacting targeting and campaign measurement. It can can help publishers and advertisers build trust and credibility.

December 02, 2021

A person works on their phone in their living room with a colorful parrot statue in the background.

Blog post

Introducing Microsoft Clarity insights for Microsoft Advertising

Get Microsoft Clarity insights via Microsoft Advertising.

October 18, 2021