How Ad Industry Might Base Impressions On Truth Vs. Fiction


A metric technology from RealVu could potentially change the way clickable impressions in search and other ad mediums get measured. It creates a window into the viewer's experience. The platform measures the viewable impression when the ad content is loaded and rendered within the area of the browser window the person looking at the page the person sees for at least one second. Alan Edwards, executive vice president and co-founder at RealVu, discuses the reasons.

The technology supporting the impression metric, accredited by the Media Rating Council on March 9, creates a viewer-side log and transmits the information to a data base. So, Edwards thinks by embedding "viewable" impressions in search engines or external sites, the click statistics, or actual click-through metrics becomes more accurate since it's being rated by what is actually viewed. He believes the Viewable Impression technology eliminates automated click fraud to make sure the view isn't registered until it's actually viewed.

The antiquated method to track CPMs doesn't work. Legacy ad server systems based on server log files don't fully understand server calls, according to Edwards. He explains this new technology receives messages from Web page and understands the position of the ads and whether or not it's covered by another tap or application, so the person looking at the Web page can't actually see it.

The RealVu technology, a client-side engine, communicates between the Web page, server-side database and the browser. The only way to report on the information the browser collects is to have the technology that can understand and report the information back to the database. Ad server log technology can't do that because it doesn't understand anything that happens after the ad serving call, Edwards says.

Similar to mailing a letter, knowing the time of day you dropped it at the post office doesn't mean you have insight into when the person received or opened it. Through RealVu technology the browser tells provides insight into views.

It can potentially affect search advertising, Edwards says. Today click rates are measured against ad calls. Cost-per-click listing get called to a server and counted as impressions. A percentage of them get clicked on. But really, maybe half the impressions never appear. Click rates, when measured against actual viewable impressions, get better and analytics are more accurate because marketers and advertisers can measure seconds. Edwards says the technology provides better metrics for interacting with search and social. "Measuring an ad that doesn't appear against the click rate isn't fair," he says.

MSNBC and Reuters have licensed the technology, along with Universal McCann, according to Edwards.

When I asked Edwards if more data means better measurement, he tells me that the server log technology creates such inaccuracies that companies will learn how to sort through the data, using it to verify clicks and impressions, which will help to rid the industry of click fraud. Companies will need to learn the most valuable pieces. Initially "it's shocking," he says, because today impressions are not really impressions on the viewer, but really the server log. Companies will begin basing the impressions on truth rather than fiction.

1 comment about "How Ad Industry Might Base Impressions On Truth Vs. Fiction".
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  1. Kirby Winfield from Dwellable, August 3, 2010 at 3 p.m.

    I couldn't agree more...and have said as much:

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