Nearly every day, the same questions arise about why viewability matters -- and even what it is. Despite the manifold efforts to explain, and the unmeasured though undoubtedly high reach and frequency of trade press articles, blog posts, social media posts, real-world conversations, panels, and outright disputes, there is a reservoir of misunderstanding and misinformation. Among my favorites are:
1. The industry standard is not enough.
Fact #1: The standard is sufficient for what it is intended to measure. That is the “opportunity to see.” It is backed by empirical science. The MRC has presented and written about the underlying work that found that in 80% of cases when an impression meets the requirements for viewability, the ad fully renders.
Fact #2: If your creative is unappealing and/or not effective, no amount of being viewable will help the brand.
2. Viewability is about being viewed.
Fact #1: Viewability is about a digital video or display ad rendering on the screen, and providing an “opportunity to see.”
Fact#2: This is a more precise level of accountability for the measurement and payment of an individual ad than in other media. Even TV, which has not had a problem providing an “opportunity to see,” has commercial pod or average commercial minute ratings as currency, not individual commercial ratings.
3. GRPs measure quality.
Fact #1: GRPs have nothing to do with quality. GRPs are solely a way of counting exposures.
Fact #2: There are many -- perhaps too many -- metrics that are being used to measure engagement.
Fact #3: Engagement may not be the only or even the best construct for a set of variables and metrics that define advertising impact.
4. Viewability in and of itself is the end game.
Fact #1: Under the auspices of 3MS, a new definition of engagement was published by a task force of publishers and agencies in a paper entitled “The Advertising Engagement Spectrum: Defining and Measuring Digital Ad Engagement in a Cross-Platform World.”
Fact #2: Without a comparable core currency unit for exposure measurement, R+F/GRPs and effectiveness metrics cannot be standardized.
MRC accreditation for viewability vendors holds for mobile.
Fact #1: As yet, there is neither a standard for mobility viewability measurement, nor is there even one single accredited vendor.
Fact #2: The MRC issued Mobile Viewability Measurement Interim Guidance on May 4, 2015.
Yes, we have issued, stated, written about these items before. That’s the point -- in order to break through the clutter on everyone’s computer and calendar and solidify what is known, we recognize that we must reiterate the facts on a regular basis until they become rote.
It is worth noting that the progress that is occurring is palpable. Across the ecosystem there is consensus that for brand advertising, viewability is table stakes, and that we must -- and will -- continue to move forward.