IPG Finds Increased Viewability Boosts Performance, Calls It 'Table Stakes'

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.”

4 comments about "IPG Finds Increased Viewability Boosts Performance, Calls It 'Table Stakes'".
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  1. Jack Wakshlag from Media Strategy, Research & Analytics, November 8, 2017 at 12:41 p.m.

    Isn’t it true that if the ad is about a product I’m interested in, or is an interesting ad for any other reason, I will watch it longer?  So people who are more interested in a product will watch longer. That’s not new. But who’s job is it to make folks not leave an ad after it has been started. Isn’t the onus on the ad?  Why should a website suffer if an ad is not watched for more than 2 seconds?  If a website runs an ad that turns people away quickly, should they not be paid?

  2. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, November 8, 2017 at 12:51 p.m.

    Jack, I don't believe that it's the responsibility of the medium---or ad time seller----to make the viewer/user watch the ad. That's on the advertisers for the reasons you gave. However, it is fair to ask the medium or ad time seller to give every ad or commercial a full opportunity to be seen ----in the case of TV-type ads from start to finish---if the viewer/user is so inclined. Also, we must remember that our industry does not have anything approaching an ad viewing metric either for "linear TV" of for digital video. All we know is that the ad was on the screen and for how long---that's all. I feel that it's perfectly fair for an advertiser to require a seller to charge only when the ad is fully visible---but I take your point regarding digital where we don't always know if the ad was avoided or merely didn't run its full course. How we settle that---like is it the ad's fault?----sounds like a very difficult nut to crack.

  3. Jack Wakshlag from Media Strategy, Research & Analytics replied, November 8, 2017 at 1:38 p.m.

    Once again, we agree!

  4. John Grono from GAP Research, November 8, 2017 at 4:56 p.m.

    Jack & Ed you are both spot on.

    It can NEVER be the responsibility of the media owner - carrier of an ad (TV channel, magazine, newspaper, website, radio station, cinema etc) - for the effectiveness of an ad that they don't create or own.

    An advertiser, in effect, rents some space in the medium of choice (with the price related to the target audience size) and the rest is up to the 'power' of the ad.

    To add a further angle to the discussion, it is also not the responsibility of the media owner to actually measure the ad's performance - yes they should measure the audience, but the performance is the responsibility of the advertiser.   Which probably explains why there is so few campaigns properly measured.

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