Commentary

A Contrarian View Of Viewability

The issue of ad viewability has been front and center for more than a year. It’s widely accepted as a standard for quality in the digital advertising industry. But many in the industry maintain that it doesn’t guarantee that ad impressions are actually delivered to their target audiences. Dstillery, a provider of data insight, created a viewability guide to help educate marketers.

Dstillery takes a more contrarian approach to viewability. For example, the company’s guide aims to show marketers how viewability can undermine marketers' return on investment goals, why viewability isn’t free of fraud, and how context is compromised when viewability is the No. 1 priority. The guide tries to break those insights down.

How viewability may undermine ROI goals:

Dstillery believes that focusing on viewability in isolation can detract from overall campaign objectives. The guide maintains that a scarcity of viewable impressions might lead to higher pricing, and impressions that fall below 70% viewability can sometimes yield results that would otherwise be lost if campaigns adhere only to rigid viewability metrics.

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Fraud follows viewability:

Dstillery’s analysis found a higher incidence of fraud occurring at 70% pre-bid viewability scores, the same percentage the industry has focused on as the "acceptable" rate.  

Context is compromised when viewability is the priority:

Dstillery’s guide suggests that most viewable inventory is found in specific contextual categories that may or may not align with marketer objectives: categories like photos at 70% pre-bid viewability, games at 63%, and dating sites at 60%.

“The Viewability Balancing Act captures new research into some of the unintended consequences of the viewability standard,” Dstillery’s Gabriel Celis, VP of client services, told RTBlog via email. “Our guide is designed to help marketers use the  standard most productively to achieve a brand’s true objectives while avoiding the pitfalls of an over-reliance on viewability.”

2 comments about "A Contrarian View Of Viewability ".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, November 11, 2016 at 10:18 a.m.

    All very interesting, Toby, but the digital ad selling community needs to understand, once and for all,  that branding advertisers are not going to be satisfied with ad placements that truncate their messages or prevent the user form seeing storytelling video commercials from start to finish.Technical problems are of no interest to such advertisers as they are not renting space from websites but, rather buying the right to fully expose their ads to the site's users. If garnering 100% "viewability" means that a website ---or "network" feels it must "penalize" the advertiser by charging higher CPMs, so be it. But charge too much and you may not get bought at all---after all, there are alternatives to digital, like TV.

  2. Neil Mahoney from Mahoney/Marketing, November 11, 2016 at 10:40 a.m.

    This is a very good point.  But it's not a new concept.  In creating print ads, lo these many years ago, it was easy to boost viewership by using provocative illustrations to attract readers.  The downside was that these gimmicks offended many readers, or caused them to focus on the stimulator and not your true message. Result: poor readership and poor salesmanship.

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