For Omnicom clients, ad viewability is about to get clearer. At least that’s what the holding company is banking on, given a new capability just launched by one of its operating units.
Big Data agency Annalect, part of Omnicom Media Group has unveiled what it’s calling an advanced ad verification reporting system that will include viewability reporting.
Viewability is an ongoing industry issue with numerous studies, suggesting that 50% (or less) of online ads are actually viewable. The company believes that viewability verification would help its advertising clients improve planning and make better buying decisions and perhaps give it more leverage in negotiations with sellers.
But while the industry is shifting to a viewability standard, Adam Gitlin, global managing director of data at Annalect said: “This does not mean that we are transacting on viewability tomorrow. Viewability as a currency still requires much work and negotiation. We’re driving the standard by tackling the issue head-on—we are analyzing delivery and performance of viewable inventory to better understand the value of inventory, particularly when purchased through ad networks and exchanges, where the industry is most vulnerable to non-viewability.”
Annalect’s verification capability will enable Omnicom agencies to demand make-goods when ads fall below accepted viewability standards, said Gitlin, who oversaw the effort. But he stressed that “it’s not just about make-goods—it gets more complicated. Negotiating make-goods is just a small step. This is about shifting how we value inventory purchased through ad networks and exchanges, which will then drive an evolution of how we buy and how we measure performance.”
Beyond viewability, Gitlin said, the new verification system will help make client buys more precise. “In terms of how we buy, it’s about shifting toward a model where clients get more precision relative to the quality of delivery—be it viewability, brand safety, audience, etc,” he said. “This can be achieved today through programmatic solutions and in the near future through viewability as currency. As we better understand value our buyers will shift the conversation with media partners towards transacting on viewability. So it is in more precise buying—programmatically and through driving a new currency—that I expect more value for clients, not on make-goods.”
The new Annalect capability, which the company says is a first for a holding-company data platform, arrives shortly before the suggested June 30 deadline by the Media Rating Council for a shift to a viewability standard for video transactions.
According to Annalect: “We launched the report in advance of the deadline, so that we can take a more informed approach with our clients, enabling meaningful discussion around how to adopt viewability into media plans, rather than forcing a new buying model without guiding clients.”
In March, the MRC lifted its advisory on viewability measurement for display ads, which it had imposed last year, citing inconsistencies in measurements across vendors. By lifting the advisory, Annalect surmised, the ad industry was effectively given “a green light to start planning to transact on viewable display impressions instead of served impressions.”
The MRC and IAB have proposed defining viewability as a combination of two measurements, including the percent of the ad in view (50% or more of standard ads on an active browser tab within the viewable space of the browser page) and the time that it was in view for (at least one second). The firms have also spelled out “special circumstances” for video and mobile, as well for other formats and situations.
But a number of viewability issues remain to be resolved. The MRC is still working through video viewability standards, for example. And standards are still evolving in the programmatic space.