MSNBC Asks 'Why Pay For Ads Nobody Sees?'

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Preaching accountability, MSNBC Digital on Monday rolled out a new ad rendering system across its entire network of sites. Christened ServeView, the system counts ads as delivered impressions only when they're visible to site visitors, said Charlie Tillinghast, president and publisher of the MSNBC Digital Network.

"We're only selling ads that are rendered in the viewable area," said Tillinghast. "Why should marketers pay for ads that no one sees? ... We support other publishers to do the same thing."

When a story page loads, consumers interact with video, text, photos and other content on the page. As that is happening, the ServeView technology runs on the page and will only render the ad once the ad location is within the viewable area of the consumer's display. Only then is the ad counted as a delivered impression.

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According to Tillinghast, ServeView works for each individual ad on every browser and every screen size.

In addition to better-performing ads, he added, marketers will benefit from improved ad views without any effects or changes to standard ad delivery practices.

ServeView is in full compliance with the Interactive Advertising Bureau's impression measurement guidelines, and improves upon its baseline recommendations, according to Kyoo Kim, VP of sales at the MSNBC Digital Network.

"We've been working with partners such as RealVu and the Media Rating Council to advance the notion of a true ad view," said Kim. During trials, Kim reports seeing click-through rates increasing anywhere from 30% to 100% based on the location of specific ads.

The MSNBC Digital Network includes MSNBC.com, TODAYshow.com, Nightly.msnbc.com, TV.MSNBC.com, NBCSports.com and EveryBlock.

De-emphasizing the page-view, MSNBC.com's recently redesigned site touts a single-page-only format, which favors large, customizable ads. The site always vowed to reduce the use of stand-alone slide shows -- which many news sites use to drive page-view counts -- in favor of "integrated" slideshows, which are actually part of the page.

 

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