Pay Only For Viewability, Prepare For Failure Of Your KPIs

Twelve months ago, if you asked a client what their No.1 key performance indicator (KPI) is, they would probably say “sales.” Fast-forward to today. Because viewability is front and center for agencies, key KPIs are taking a hit.

When a publisher gets an RFP, there are usually three KPIs that are referenced. Click through, conversion, time spent on site, engagement, etc have all been identified as the most important aspects of for the campaign. But what happens when the agency also dictates that they will only pay for viewable impressions? 

Recent studies have shown that if viewability is paramount, then other KPIs will suffer.

Programmatic buying has exploded this year and is poised to overtake traditional spending in the next few years.  Over $10B was been spent programmatically in 2014, which represented 52% of all display media. 



But a recent article in The Drum showed that viewability rates are only 50% for programmatic impressions and that number is continuing to fall.  So what does the agency do knowing this?

Agencies continue to pour money into programmatic, but viewability isn’t measured for that portion of their buy.  As a publisher, I’d prefer to be bought programmatically since I wouldn’t have the added layer of scrutiny placed on those impressions, particularly when there is no standard for measurement of viewable impressions.

Agencies need to find a balance between delivering their clients key KPIs, and viewability.  As a client, I’m not sure I would want such hard and fast rules on viewability if my sales will suffer because my core KPIs aren’t met.  It also sounds like agencies are talking out of both sides of their mouths. 

They spend billions programmatically, but don’t put viewability measurements on those impressions.  Yet when they buy for a brand campaign, impressions will only be paid for if they’re viewable. That doesn’t seem right, does it?  Are programmatic impressions less valuable than brand impressions?  I wouldn’t think so.

As always, publishers will work in tandem with agencies and brands to find the right mix of media to help achieve their clients goals.  Let’s just make sure we know the KPI that truly matters and optimize toward it.

6 comments about "Pay Only For Viewability, Prepare For Failure Of Your KPIs".
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  1. jack Brown from BDAI, July 28, 2015 at 12:09 p.m.

    This is our programmatic reality. 

    These three programmatic campaigns are 48 hours old.

    Total impressions delivered:  87,299

    Viewability score:  81%

    CTR:  0.20 aggregate for campaign

    Aggregate clicks: 117

    Conversions: 8 – 7% of the traffic is currently staying on the landing page for 5 seconds or longer

    Device delivery:  99% PC /1% mobile

    Total impressions delivered:  110,905 (this data is active as of 07.19)

    Viewability score:  78%

    CTR:  0.13 aggregate for campaign

    Aggregate clicks: 144

    Conversions: 9

    Device delivery:  99% PC /1% mobile

    Total impressions delivered:  552,738 (as of 07.19 – this campaign is slated to deliver in full and on time)

    Viewability score:  69%

    CTR:  0.041 aggregate for campaign

    Aggregate clicks:  217

    Conversions:  82 – 38% of the traffic we are driving to the landing page is classified as quality traffic and is visitors that are spending in excess of 5 seconds on the site.

    Device delivery:  99% PC /1% mobile

  2. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, July 28, 2015 at 2:52 p.m.

    Jack, I get what you are implying, but a better example might be one where all three campaigns are getting the same numner of "impressions", though with varying measurable results. Or, maybe, hold the ad costs constant and see how the numbers fall.

  3. Jonathan Hutter from Northern Light Health, July 29, 2015 at 9:59 a.m.

    How is viewability a KPI? It's only a measure of delivery, not performance. Time spent and conversions likewise are metrics that may lead toward what a client would define as a KPI, but they aren't in themselves results that have a true business impact (conversion is closest of these). On the other hand, "sales" is such a broad definition that it provides little guidance for campaign execution, so we must challenge clients to be more specific.

    And for god's sake, please stop saying, "key KPIs."

  4. jack Brown from BDAI, July 29, 2015 at 12:11 p.m.

      Thanks Ed,

      I would have loved to include all of that information and much more but it wouldn't fit in the comment box.  Nevertheless I do appreciate your point.  Keep in mind to avoid cherry picking I used our most current three campaigns.  What they do have in common is:  Start date, same cost per thousand and client povided the Ads and Target we provide evrything else.  

  5. Keith Pieper from IMM, July 31, 2015 at 10:53 a.m.

    I agree with Jonathan - viewability is likely not the business KPI, rather it is possibly a more suitable alternative proxy than click as a campaign optimization goal. And with regards to Jack's above average viewability - I'd be curious to see where CPMs land for those, since viewability does cost more.

  6. jack Brown from BDAI, July 31, 2015 at 2:40 p.m.

    Our pricing is based on data layer only or full service and number of impressions the client wants to buy.   These three display campaigns are full service I do not know how many impressions they contracted for so CPM could be between $2.50 to $ 5.00.  By the way, full service is client provides creative, target and white list if they like we do the rest.  These results are typical of our performance for this type of campaign.

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