Viewability is important, but it’s on the brink of going mainstream. Why it matters and how to track it used can now be explained. There are plenty of vendors -- many have been accredited or are in the process of being accredited -- to choose from.
The 614 Group has written a detailed report on the topic: why it matters, what it does, the different methods and the vendors. The report is meant to help publishers choose a vendor, but it underscores something more important: viewability is coming, regardless of how prepared the industry is.
The 614 Group interviewed nine viewability companies for the report, including Alenty, C3 Metrics, comScore, MediaMind, Integral Ad Science, Meetrics, Moat, RealVu and Spider.io. The purpose of the report was not to recommend one vendor over another, and the report expressly states that The 614 Group was “impressed” by all services it reviewed.
The widely accepted definition of “viewable” is an ad that is at least 50% visible in the user’s browser for at least one second. Many reports in 2013 indicated that advertisers were lucky if more than 50% of their display ads were viewable; if the ad doesn’t have a chance to be seen, it’s wasted money.
As it relates directly to the value of an impression, viewability is increasingly being used as a currency for digital media trading. For example, just last month Google announced it will use viewability as a currency. The 614 Group explained what “using it as a currency” means for publishers:
“Historically, campaigns have been bought on a cost per impression basis (CPM) or a derivative of it. Buyers will soon demand to buy inventory based on ‘vCPM,’ (i.e. pay only for impressions that were in view). In order to track and report on this new metric -- and compare it to the numbers reported from your advertisers’ viewability partners -- you will need a viewability vendor to track this data for you,” the report reads.
But the different vendors still offer different stats when it comes to the viewability of ads, even if they use the same method.
“In the years ahead, the industry will attempt to resolve these issues,” the report reads. It warns publishers that “discrepancies will be inevitable” in the meantime.
It sounds like “ready or not” applies to the vendors themselves. Buyers and sellers should be prepared for those discrepancies, because it seems like viewability, even if a bit premature, is stepping into the arena of all-important.
“More than ever, interactive advertising buyers see viewability metrics as a minimal standard for assuring quality impressions,” stated Rob Rasko, founder of The 614 Group. “We anticipate an exponential rise in the amount of transactions based on viewability standards.”