Interpublic, which has been leading a charge that the ad industry’s current standard of “viewability” may not go far enough, this morning released results of an exhaustive year-long study. It showed the standard may just be “table stakes,” especially when so-called “performance” is factored into a campaign’s results.
Like previous research conducted by its Magna Global and IPG Lab units, the new research concludes -- not so surprisingly -- that the longer and more viewable an ad is on a digital screen, the more likely it will have an effect.
Specifically, the new study, published in a report entitled “Pulling Back the Curtain: Viewability & Direct Response,” found dramatically higher performance the longer and more often an ad was in view.
“One campaign showed a 97% increase in conversions among consumers who engaged with the ad for four seconds,” the study reports. It offered an example of how the industry’s current minimum standard likely does not go far enough in calculating the impact of viewability.
This is not the first time Interpublic has taken aim at that standard, developed by the Media Rating Council, which defines a digital ad impression as “viewable” if 50% of an ad is in view for one second or longer for a static banner ad, or two seconds for a video ad.
Previous research conducted by the Interpublic units found even ads that had less than 50% of their content “in-view” could generate significant impact the more time they were in view. The research seemed to suggest that time in view may be a more significant factor than the percentage of an ad in view.
The new research does not break down those components per se, but it acknowledges those are the variables influencing the impact of so-called “performance”-based ad campaigns.
For the purposes of the report, Interpublic defines performance campaigns as ads designed to drive specific actions, “such as visiting an information page, signing up for a trial subscription and online sales.”
While the study, which was conducted in conjunction with independent demand-side platform The Trade Desk, found increased viewability strongly correlated to increased conversions, it did not confirm or recommend specific thresholds for the percentage or duration in-view.
The study also confirmed that factoring so-called “non-viewable” impressions into campaign results “paint[s] an inaccurate picture of how campaigns perform.”
While Interpublic did not explicitly advocate excluding non-viewable impressions from post-analyses, it said “the inclusion of viewability data, attribution models become 'smarter' and place less importance and credit on non-viewable impressions.”