It’s widely believed that a third or more of digital display advertising goes unseen. This may be because a user has scrolled past the ad before it loads, or perhaps never scrolls far enough down to see the ad at all. Of course, there is no shortage of highly creative fraudsters in the display ad business, compounding the problem.
Then there's another question. Even if an ad is "in view," is it actually seen by the user? "Banner blindness,” or the idea that people have learned to ignore banner ads all together, makes understanding the effectiveness of display campaigns harder than ever.
Earlier this week, the Media Rating Council (MRC) announced that it is lifting its “ban” on the use of a "viewability" metric in the measurement and negotiation of digital media transactions. Because of the aforementioned reasons, this metric is in high demand by advertisers.
Viewability getting the green light as a currency by the MRC – the organization charged with making media measurement accurate, accountable and useable for all participants in the ecosystem – has an impact on display and video advertising. Less apparent are the underlying implications for the audio industry.
Following the MRC’s announcement, there is an immediate pressure on display advertising. With a standard available that gives them more transparency, advertisers will no longer pay for ads that are not certified as “viewable.” Viewability will quickly become the imperative. This will also mean a tightening of inventory. The below-the-fold inventory, or that which is rarely seen, will be eliminated or greatly diminished as its value approaches zero.
For audio this is an exciting change because all audio inventory lives “above-the-fold.” Audio ads are inherently always “viewable.” It’s easy to ignore a display ad by scrolling away or looking elsewhere, but it’s much more difficult to shut your ears to audio. Audio ads also have the benefit of being delivered in-line with other content, without being interruptive to the consumer experience.
In fact, according to the most recent Infinite Dial study, 75% of consumers said that they think commercials are a fair price to pay for free programming on Internet audio. Not only is the amount of audio inventory unaffected by the viewable metric, but existing audio inventory will be seen as more valuable under viewability standards.
As an earlier article in Media Daily News noted, one of the key benefits of the viewable metric for the ad industry as a whole is that it “paves the way for establishing a true GRP – or gross rating point – metric for comparing online advertising buys against other media…as well as calculating online’s contribution in cross-platform advertising campaigns and media buys.”
As we begin to move toward this true GRP, metrics like viewability give audio a formidable advantage over other digital media in the fiercely competitive battle for advertisers.