From One Second To Five. EU's Parting Viewability Gift To Brexit Britain?

Half of an ad's pixels being available for just a second never seemed a particularly demanding viewability standard, did it? I mean, if i were to put up half an ad for a second on a page and then have it automatically scroll out of position, do you really think you'd be able to even notice it, let alone take in what it had to say?

Now, throw in a cut to budgets that is almost certainly on its way, following a Brexit vote, and you have brands wanting to do more with less, or at least feeling they need to be able to measure their spend against a meaningful metric. Enter stage right negotiations I only just realised were taking place but could revolutionise viewability, and for the better.

I've been talking with Meetrics -- the ad fraud, viewability and brand safety tech vendor -- about what they do and in the conversation it emerged that they are heavily involved in industry-wide talks to get viewability raised to a more meaningful standard. The talks, it transpires, are being coordinated by IAB Europe. Now this could be old news to some, particularly for those involved, but for me it was a surprise and it's coming at a perfect time.

There are no concrete plans at the moment, but there a couple of very interesting points.

My sources tell me that five seconds -- rather than one -- is gaining traction as the time limit and there are moves afoot to significantly increase half of an ads pixels to a number nearer, or even equal to, 100%. So there's a possibility we could see a new standard emerge of most, if not all, of an ad being visible for five seconds to be deemed viewable.

Interestingly, there is also talk of IAB Europe offering a second metric of effectiveness. Beyond being visible, this second figure could potentially offer a time for how long the ad was viewable, so it can be decided whether or not it has been effective. It could lead to the one-second rule not only being ripped up, but replaced by effectiveness metrics that go way beyond what we have today. 

The guys at Meetrics are pretty up front about progress, saying that the one second and 50% pixel rule was only ever going to be a starting point for further discussion to reach a guideline that makes more sense and that IAB Europe is keen to have the new metric born within the EU, so that Europe is taking a lead. It's rather ironic, then, that the viewability metrics UK brands use to maximise the effectiveness of their reduced ad spend, thanks to Britain voting to leave the EU, could well come from a revised standard devised from within the EU. A parting "Bon Voyage" gift, you might want to call it.

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