The system -- which was developed in conjunction with Horizon’s bidding agent, demand-side platform Turn, and analytics firm RealVu -- programmatically filters non-viewable inventory out of the mix before Horizon’s bids are made.
“We really don’t see any value in bidding on inventory that's not in-view, we’re trying to carve those impressions out and get it as close to 100% possible,” Donnie Williams, chief digital officer at Horizon, tells RTM Daily -- adding that since Horizon began piloting the program, it has achieved levels “north of 99%.”
The system, which doesn’t have a fancy new ad tech name or acronym, is basically a multi-layered approach that combines RealVu's “Content Rendering Control Technology” with Turn’s programmatic bidding algorithms to ensure that a bid is only made when it is detected as viewable to the consumer via RealVu’s technology. RealVu is the first analytics firm to be accredited by the ad industry’s Media Rating Council for a “viewable impression” metric.
Based on current industry standards, an online ad is deemed “viewable” if at least 50% of its content is visible to a user for at least one second. Horizon’s Williams says that is the minimum standard clients should expect to receive for ads they are buying, and he said the new system is a practical solution that will automate the process while creating greater “transparency” in the marketplace, reflecting the true value of ads that capable of being seen by consumers.
Describing the new system as a “perfect storm” of technology coming together, Williams says he hopes the industry moves past the current debates -- especially numerous conference panel discussions -- and simply moves to standardize methods like the RealVu/Turn solution.
“There’s a chain of people involved in order to make this work,” he said, noting that publishers need to embed RealVu’s code, for example. But Williams says it’s in the best interest of publishers to allow their inventory to be coded that way, as more advertisers, agencies and trading desks adopt viewability as their standard.
“We think that over time the yield will be better for publishers too,” he said, explaining that as more ad budgets are allocated only to viewable inventory it will create greater liquidity, which will push demand and prices up.
“Whether that's a bit of a higher premium from a bid standpoint right now, we don't know, but we know our clients are paying what they want for viewable ad impressions, and we believe that should be the standard for the rest of the industry.”