IAB: Marketers Should Aim For 70% Viewability In 2015

Deciding to take things one step at a time, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) on Tuesday issued a “state of viewability transaction 2015” paper calling for the digital ad industry to aim for 70% viewability on campaigns next year, naming 2015 a "year of transition."

“It’s time to set the record straight about what is technically and commercially feasible, in order to get ourselves on an effective road to 100% viewability and greater accountability for digital media,” stated Randall Rothenberg, president and CEO of the IAB. “The MRC said it best -- 100% is currently unreasonable. Why? Because different ad units, browsers, ad placements, vendors and measurement methodologies yield wildly different viewability numbers.”

The MRC (Media Rating Council) created the standard for viewability, which says that 50% of an ad’s pixels must be in-view for at least one continuous second (two for video ads) to be deemed viewable.

The IAB encourages makegoods to be offered for campaigns that do not reach the 70% viewability threshold, writing in its paper that “such a guarantee assures that all paid measurable ad impressions will be viewable at a threshold that both exceeds the minimum standard and falls within observed variances.”

The IAB urges those makegoods to be in the form of additional viewable impressions, not simple cash payouts. The makegoods are recommended to be “generally consistent with inventory that was purchased in the original campaign,” the IAB writes.

“Publishers, agencies, marketers, and ad tech companies can resolve these differences by working collaboratively to make measurement make sense. We won’t do it by holding guns to each others’ heads,” Rothenberg stated.

Viewability has been a headline issue throughout 2014, and despite the fact the MRC green-lit viewability as a currency this year, the problem has actually worsened in some corners.

The most recent data from Integral Ad Science notes that 36.7% of all display ads purchased on networks and ad exchanges were deemed “viewable” in the third quarter of 2014 -- down from 45.3% the quarter before, which was down from 51.3% during the first quarter of 2014. Additionally, Google reported earlier this month that over half (56.1%) of display ads served on its platform are not viewable.

The fact the digital ad industry is projected to move toward more “programmatic direct” or “automated guaranteed” transactions in 2015 and beyond figures to help raise overall viewability rates. Per the Integral Ad Science report, viewability rates on ads bought directly from publishers were 53.4% last quarter -- still a far cry from 70%, but significantly better than the 36.7% rate experienced on networks and exchanges. Additionally, a recent TubeMogul report notes that 79% of video ads bought directly from publishers were viewable last quarter, up from 54% during the first quarter of 2014.

The IAB’s paper on the state of viewabilty transactions 2015 can be found here.

"Binoculars" image via Shutterstock.

3 comments about "IAB: Marketers Should Aim For 70% Viewability In 2015".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, December 17, 2014 at 11:25 a.m.

    That's all very fine but the standard of "viewability", itself, is unrealistic. You need a new and much tighter standard, guys.

  2. Henry Blaufox from Dragon360, December 17, 2014 at 12:21 p.m.

    Usually, accuracy measurements of various types can be attained 80+ percent of the time, at an acceptable cost. Getting beyond that becomes an exercise in diminishing returns (cost grows dramatically to achieve incrementally better results.) So 100% is not possible, and even something like 95% is probably not worth the effort. But why is the IAB settling for 70%, a lower bar?

  3. Jonathan Hutter from Northern Light Health, December 17, 2014 at 5:02 p.m.

    Wouldn't I then want an immediate 30% discount on any plan just as a viewability allowance?

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