A certain big segment of the ad business still gets bugged about viewability issues—it sounds ridiculously basic, yes?—and controversy about what consumers see, or whether they see a video ad at all, is one of those subjects that still makes publishers cringe and advertisers howl.
So, it’s newsworthy that Tremor Video today is announcing its proprietary technology, VideoHub, has been accredited by the Media Rating Council for viewability and four other linchpin metrics: engagement, clicks, served digital video impressions and unique cookies.
VideoHub is the first ad tech system to get the OK for its average viewability percentage technology, which it already has been offering to clients while awaiting the MRC seal of approval. .
“For us, we’ve had viewability for over a year so the hay we wanted to make with our clients has already been made,” says Anthony Risicato, VideoHub’s general manager. “Really, we like this from an industry standpoint. What is viewability and and how do I measure it? Now that there is an accredited standard, we’re saying, if you so choose, you can adopt the standard. You’re not out on a limb just believing somebody’s numbers. That has impact in terms of billing clients and it has a huge impact on measuring and understanding performance. Why does a particular ad perform in a certain way? Does viewabilty have an impact on that or not?”
The Interactive Advertising Bureau is devising its own standard, which will, of course, be the one that the business will adapt, but that won’t happen until later this year.
“We expect whatever that standard is, we’ll certainly embrace it. We’re big believers in industry standards,” Risicato says, and he explains that by now, there’s not much mystery over the basic contours of what viewability standards make sense. Indeed, he says, the VideoHub technology was designed to be “inside the box” the IAB is prepping. He supposes that once the IAB standards are revealed other firms will rush to create tech that fits in, too.
At issue is almost a question of comfort but it's more than that. Advertisers used to the gross-ratings-point method of paying for advertising also have a practical and set idea about how to attribute that an ad has been seen. It’s easier, obviously, to determine that in a television environment than in a digital universe.
But the viewability technology, Risicato stresses, isn’t making a value judgment about the quality of the view. It is essentially just describing it. “We‘re not the police. We’re not going to say this is good or this is bad. We will just give you the data. We can tell you you’re running a campaign and 60% of your ads were 90% in view and here’s the breakdown of which particular campaigns were more in view or less in view. Is that good or bad? I’m not a scorecard. I’m just here to present the data to the marketplace.”