Commentary

Unruly Joins The Completed-Ad-View Derby

The Media Rating Council in 2014 announced that two seconds of viewability was an appropriate standard to shoot for. A lot of people in the business thought somebody should be able to do better than that and since then, lots of entities, from Group M and Unilever to Facebook, got to work with their own ideas and rules and such.

No doubt a lot of really hard work and tough thinking led to the two-second standard, and it had a different purpose than what ad tech firms and ad purveyors are using it for.

Still, it was a statement that stuck with people so this seems like a threshold so low everybody knew it was necessary, and probably pretty profitable, to jump over it.

If you can build a better mousetrap, there’s still a job for you in digital media.

The latest entrant is Unruly, which just announced its cost-per-completed view (CPCV)  idea, which allows advertisers to pay for a view only when it’s been watched for 30 seconds. 

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That sounds radical.

Now, 30 seconds has a ring to it!  This, I don’t have to tell you, is, the length of a lot of commercials, and it’s three times longer than the last highly publicized viewability offer. Facebook just offered customers the option to pay only after 10 seconds of an ad was viewed and then kind of weirdly said maybe that's not the best way to go, like, really ad folks, just a few seconds is enough.

But to me 30 seconds sounds pretty fantastic, which I said in as many words, to Richard Kosinski, the U.S. president of Unruly, who, in as many more words, agreed, no kidding. He also points out that a lot of the ads Unruly deals with are a lot longer than 30 seconds -- the ad length more and more of Unruly’s Top 100 and Top 1,000 are all stretching out--so the 30 second pledge doesn’t necessarily mean a viewer will see a complete ad.

But paying for 30 seconds is better than 10 or 3, and so on.

“We did extensive testing to see how this would work,” he said. Like, how many people would opt out.

But since Unruly ad models already contain a lot of ways that users opt-in -- the viewer-in-control is a big part of its business -- this was not like offering a 30-second guarantee to the kinds of ads you couldn’t stand for even the blink of an eye. 

“When the creative gets it right,” Kosinski said, “it brings people in.”

Also, it was pointed out, some advertisers are looking for rapt attention and would pay extra for the cost-per-completed view. Lots of other advertisers just need a little attention, and probably shouldn’t buy into that option.

Unruly also introduced Unruly Complete, a kind of programmatic workaround which lets an advertiser avoid the “fuss of assigning assets across a variety of ad type formats” and lets Unruly pick your points and types of entry. I would compare it to a the cereal Snack-Paks, but Kosinski compared it to financial services companies that now manage money. “Nobody has a broker anymore,” he said. “They have financial advisors.”

pj@mediapost.com

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