Jenny Chan 陳詠欣
Sep 18, 2017

26 companies to co-test MMA China's open-source SDK

The Chinese are such heavy users of the mobile internet that a SDK is even more important in such an ad environment.

26 companies to co-test MMA China's open-source SDK

The Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) China is assuming governance of the testing of an open source software development kit (SDK), which paves the way for a more transparent media buying ecosystem on mobile devices.

Participating in the test are 26 companies: Coca-Cola, Danone, Mars, P&G, Unilever, Visa, FunTV, iQiyi, Madhouse, PPTV, Qunar, Sina, Sohu, Toutiao, Adbug, AdMaster, ComScore, CTR, Grapeshot, Gridsum, IAS, Miaozhen Systems, Moat, Nielsen, RTBAsia, and Sinomonitor—of which 13 are independent ad verification vendors.

The open-source SDK supplies a universal JavaScript execution environment (Webview container) for these third-party vendors to run their native code for ad-verification purposes.

Once deployed, the unified MMA China SDK, first released in May this year, allows 'lightweight' monitoring and verification without integrating multiple SDKs from various parties, and thus reducing the necessary load time on the user side.

"MMA China has been promoting the standardisation of mobile advertising and is committed to providing a wide range of practical applications," said Joshua Maa, head of the association's Mobile Advertising Standards and Measurement Committee as well as the founder and CEO of Madhouse. MMA's China chapter was established in Shanghai back in April 2011. The committee expects preliminary test results in three months' time.

Development of the generic, cross-platform SDK is technically complex compared to previous browser-based tools, said Hong Bei, CTO of AdMaster. Compatibility tests are also delayed if users do not update their apps to the latest versions. "Even now, we see users with the 2014 version of iQiyi. There is no way around it if the user does not update," Hong told Campaign China.

In the past, allowing 13 third-party vendors to play in the ad verification field at the same time was not possible, said Hong. As far as the mobile media platforms in China are concerned, even one SDK risks an "invasion" of their sensitive data through backdoors. In addition, an SDK increases an app's size by more than a few megabytes, even for the most intuitively-built app.

The move is considered "particularly advanced" for the whole mobile media industry, Maa pointed out, as it led 13 third-party firms who are usually "opponents" to put aside their "quarrels" and come together. Only then can the industry slowly iterate, he added. 

In spite of this small milestone, China's big media platforms are still reluctant to comply with external ad verification; only seven smaller players (FunTV, iQiyi, PPTV, Qunar, Sina, Sohu and Toutiao) pledged to participate in last month's test.
Unless there is an industry association like IAB in the United States or MMA or CMAC in China pushing everyone forward, the interests of advertisers will not be taken into account, said Hong.
"I am particularly grateful to MMA for its efforts in promoting mobile advertising transparency, and it is believed that this will be a SDK that is both in line with global standards and that conforms to China's national conditions," said Yabin He, vice president of brand operations, media, consumer and market knowledge at P&G Greater China. It is widely estimated that P&G's budget accounts for more than 30% of the mobile advertising market in China.


Campaign China

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