From: Robert Harnaga
As you know, I was at the IAB meeting in Phoenix last week and wandered into a session on something the online folks call "viewability." Christ, what a shitstorm. Apparently in the world of Internet advertising, you can buy an ad and even if no one sees it, you still have to pay for it.
In Phoenix, on the one side you had advertisers telling Web publishers to prove that the ads they’re selling appear on users’ screens -- as opposed to parts of Web pages that people never actually see. On the other side, you have the head IAB guy (from CBS -- figures, right?) saying that if 70% of ads are viewable, everybody should relax and have a Coke. Meanwhile, you have these agency guys saying they are not happy unless all 100% of the ads they buy can be seen. Over in the corner, the ad-tech vendors are saying that 100% ain't possible.
It was GREAT. Almost made me forget about Brian for a few minutes.
On the other hand, it made me stop and ponder the notion of paying for ads that are not seen. You know and I know that since we've been packing in more and more ads into every break, fewer and fewer people are sticking around to watch them. Back in the old days, we gave viewers about 30 seconds to get to the bathroom and back. These days, not only can they get to the bathroom, they can bake a soufflé, walk the dog and pick up all the gloves on the floor of the mudroom -- and still have time to get back on the couch. Technically, these ads are not "viewable.” But thank God, we're getting paid for them.
You know I can't keep up with the C3 vs C7 nonsense. But if we can convince advertisers that people who record shows really don't fast-forward past the commercials, we might as well tell them that the Pope ain't Catholic (although this new guy's not acting like one).
I don't know what the big deal is anyway with that Internet crowd. When you listen to the car radio and an ad block comes on, you switch stations. Those ads aren't "viewed" either. You buy a billboard in Times Square. How many people even see it? Do you get to charge for everyone who walks past it in a month? What a racket that would be. The fact is that nobody sees every ad in any medium. But the Internet wove that sackcloth coat they're wearing with all that talk about accountability. Lol, as they say.
But I'll leave it to the online boys and girls to sort it all out. As long as no one leaves that baby at our doorstep, right?