Bluefin Media CEO Calls On Ad Industry To Standardize Viewability Metrics

Measuring data becomes worthless when companies can't sift through the numbers to find the gems. Bluefin Media CEO Brad Mandell calls on the advertising industry to create a standard viewability metric to will move ad dollars from television to the Web more quickly. He's working with a group to standardize viewability measurements for video, and said the industry must tie viewability into CPMs to make ad dollars more effective. "When companies buy branding dollars, they basically buy sets of eyeballs, and that's what the viewability metrics measures," he said. "It will make TV dollars flow a lot faster to the Web."

In-mid March, Bluefin Media will release the video platform Streaming Revolution to support its network of Web sites, as well as non-affiliate publisher sites. The company produces more than 300 original videos monthly across four verticals. All the videos are measurable and contribute to the overall cost of an advertisement running on Bluefin's network of sites. Viewability should provide a similar metric.



Mandell said the Google and comScore relationship provides that type of metrics, but that specific feature got lost in the release announcement. "It should have been the focal point on what this product brings to the table," he said. "We're already seeing decision being made whether to ramp up or pause campaigns based on this metric."

Ad networks and agencies have begun to create their own measurement tools, which won't provide a standard measurement and will only create havoc across the ad industry, Mandell said.

5 comments about "Bluefin Media CEO Calls On Ad Industry To Standardize Viewability Metrics".
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  1. Joshua Chasin from VideoAmp, March 6, 2014 at 12:55 p.m.

    The advertising industry IS working to create a standard viewability metric to move ad dollars from television to the Web more quickly. It's happening under the auspices of the IAB's Emerging Innovation Task Force, under the Direction of the MRC. The standards are expected to become codified and official April 1.

  2. Joe Marchese from true[X], March 6, 2014 at 3:07 p.m.

    @joshua - the standard is a HUGE first step. But at the same time is intentionally small. 50% of an ad viewable for 1 second? So how do you compare an ad that is viewable for 10 seconds to one that is viewable for 30 seconds? What is the viewable ad is 10% of the screen vs. the viewable ad is 30% of the viewable screen? The trouble is going for a lowest common denominator will help in the short run, but be gamed in the longer run by smart people on the internet that will find a way to deliver the minimum viable metric.

  3. John Grono from GAP Research, March 6, 2014 at 4:38 p.m.

    Joe, good question. I worked with Out-Of-Home and for viewability of a poster the MINIMUM threshold was 200 milli-seconds (international guideline). The thing is this 'disqualified' around a third of all people within 'range' of a billboard. Roughly, another third viewed up to a second and the other third viewed more than a second. The key is that these are minima and are generally exceeded. A second while driving is a LONG time (safetywise) but online could be longer. And never underestimate how much a human can see and process in a short space of time. Home plate is 60' 6" from the pitchers mound. A fast pitch is 100 mph. That means that the ball gets to the batter in around 410 milli-seconds in which time he has to see the ball, its trajectory, and swing at it. QED.

  4. Joshua Chasin from VideoAmp, March 6, 2014 at 5:01 p.m.

    Joe-- there are multiple questions to address. Establishing a standard for Viewability doesn't negate the question of how to compare different quality or duration exposures. The purpose of the standard, essentially, is to help define what the publisher should be paid for. Indeed the working standards urge the measurement companies to report on actual duration of exposure.

    Right now, to the best of my knowledge, there are 10 companies accredited by the MRC for display viewability. Every one of them uses the 50%< 1 second criterion. I'm sure once the video Viewability standard has been more widely socialized, all vendors will be using that as well.

  5. Brad Mandell from Bluefin Media, March 6, 2014 at 8:40 p.m.

    Joshua - The IAB is actually not the driving force behind creating viewability standards for video. The industry group doing this is Open VideoView ( which the IAB is a member of along with multiple other major players in the industry. There is a list with the majority of the members on the site. You mention a date of April 1st for a standard to be in place, and no one that I have spoken with has ever mentioned a date. Personally, I don't think we will see anything finalized until Q3/Q4.

    John/Joe - You both bring up great points, and factors such as these will definitely need to be addressed.

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