Ad Viewability: It Will Change The Way We Buy Anything With A Pixel
Ad Verification used to mean Fraud and/or Brand Safety. Advertisers were concerned that robots were being counted for served ads instead of humans, or worse, a brand being placed on a site that vehemently contradicted the values and virtues of the brand. The preceding definition still stands, and has been expanded to include Ad Viewability. The metric is new and slowly gaining traction industry wide.
Viewability is a rising concern among Advertisers. They are turning to their agency and/or Ad Exchange partners to prove they are judiciously spending the entrusted digital media dollars. Advertisers are looking for vendors of verification services to re-position the learning’s from a post campaign position to a more real-time, programmatic-like offering.
The standard definition of view-ability set by the Media Rating Council (MRC) is:
- Display Ad View-ability: 50% of the Ad units pixels are visible for 1 second or more
- Video Ad View-ability: 50% of the Ad units pixels are visible for 2 consecutive seconds or more
A recent study by ad verification vendor IntegralAd found that roughly 50% of US banner display impressions served on ad networks and exchanges in Q3 and Q4 of 2013 went unseen. In Q1 2014, the industry with the best view-ability figures was Travel at 49%. Forty-Nine percent being the best – means there is a lot of work to be done by publishers, servers, exchanges and agencies to prove their value to clients.
Video advertising solution manager TubeMogul found that in January 2014, its platform had less than 44% view-ability for video ads shown on players smaller than 1,000 pixels. The below chart shows that if the pixel size of your video ad is less than 1,000+, your view-ability is more than likely less than 45%.
If these figures from TubeMogul and IntegralAd are anywhere reflective of the view-ability of all or most ads placed across the web, then a better level of accountability must be put in place and soon.
Publishers will have to do a significant amount of due diligence and yield management modeling to implement the view-ability price model. The new model presents an opportunity to Advertisers to mimic what we see today with Real Time Bidding (”RTB”). It is within reason to believe that given the efficiency seen in digital verticals like Search Term Real Time bidding, the demands for pre-bid view-ability are bound to come to the display / video ad verification arena.
An RTB type of verification system for digital video sits at the top of many advertisers wish list, but they must be aware of the tradeoffs and risks. Publishers offering programmatic like inventory can have higher view-ability and fewer brand safety concerns than open exchanges. They are, however, still susceptible to fraud and other non-compliance matters. The current adoption level of ad verification in the Fraud – Brand Safety – Ad View-ability sense is unknown and will only come with time and standard setting. Determining pre-bid viewability will come with a mix of statistical analysis and guesswork.
We anticipate that 2014 will be the year the industry starts realizing that the pixel, not simply the impression, must be verified.
Source:E Marketer: Ad Verification: From Post-Campaign Reporting to Real-Time Prevention- David Hallerman and Mitchel Winkels
E Marketer: Interview of George Ivie: CEO and Executive Director The Media Rating Council (MRC)
Ray Maylor, Sr. Research Manager