Commentary

CTV 'Viewability' Beats All Other Digital Video, Lags Linear TV


By at least one important quality measure -- so-called "viewability" -- connected TV (CTV) ads are the top of the digital food chain.

That's the finding of Integral Ad Science's (IAS) second-quarter 2020 "Media Quality Report," which for the first time analyzed CTV ad impressions alongside other forms of digital video advertising appearing on mobile apps, mobile web and desktops. The analysis, which covers all impressions across all markets tracked by IAS, found CTV ads averaged 93.3% viewability, meaning at least 50% of their impressions were in view for viewers for at least two seconds.

The finding is important for several reasons, not the least of which is that CTV is the fair-haired child of the video advertising marketplace, rivaling linear TV at the top of media plans for the year ahead.

And while it's assumed that 100% of linear TV ad impressions are "viewable," that was not necessarily the assumption for CTV, which is often rendered by consumers on a variety of connected TV devices where ad impressions may be competing with other parts of their screens.

On the downside, the ad industry now has an index for factoring non-viewable CTV ad impressions vs. linear TV: nearly 7%, at least on a worldwide basis.

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5 comments about "CTV 'Viewability' Beats All Other Digital Video, Lags Linear TV".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, April 19, 2021 at 11:26 a.m.

    So, if only 93% of CTV ads are "viewable" using the IAB's inflaitionary definion of half or more of  the pixels  on- screen for at least two seconds, one can only wonder what the percentage is using a definition that is directly comparable to "linear TV" where all of the pixels are on- screen for the entire length of the message---which is what TV advertisers not only want---as they are telling a story that plays out over the full length of a commercial---but insist on?On that basis, is the CTV percentage only 55% or, perhaps, 45%, or maybe lower?Do CTV advertisers accept the IAB's definition for calculating CPMs or do they go with 100% "viewability"---which is what they should use unless their ad agencies are without professional media planning, research and buying staffs.

  2. Tony Jarvis from Olympic Media Consultancy, April 20, 2021 at 1:18 p.m.

    How many times must Ed, John Grono or myself remind readers and even the doyen of media journalism, Joe Mandese, that the so called "viewable impression" as coined by MRC should  NOT be used as an audience or media currency metric which requires ad exposure by a target audience to be meaningful.  Once again, "viewable impressions", a complete misnoma in my opinion, have nothing to do with an audience's exposure to ad content.  Content even if fully rendered on a device, a panel, a screen or a page does NOT guarantee exposure to a brand's target group.  No ad exposure - no brand effects!!!  In short Joe, this IAS report is of little relevance. Sorry. 
    Even if "viewable impressions" are based on 100% of pixels rendered for the entire length of the commercial message (per Ed as generally used by linear TV versus the IAS's unacceptable defintion) this measure is merely and only proof of ad delivery to a device.  Advertisers and their media agencies should be demanding measures of Eyes-On, Ears-On or contact/exposure to the brand's ad by their target audience from any media platform in order to be considered. 
    Based on the latest international dialogue on cross-media measurement, the target audience ad exposure "requirement" could be extended to the next level of effect, "attention".  However that represents primarily a creative measure rather than a media measure and is therfore inappropriate as a "media measurement".  
    Lastly, before throwing around CPM's, ensure that the basis of any CPM are clearly stated.  In today's media environment, using CPM's based on "viewable impressions" must be considered beyond misguided and surely should be treated with the contempt they deserve in media planning and buying. 

  3. Joe Mandese from MediaPost, April 20, 2021 at 1:55 p.m.

    @Tony Jarvis: As many times as you'd like. The comments field is your soapbox. For what it's worth, the MRC has moved beyond that definition of a "viewable impression," but it's still the minimum viable industry standard for many to benchmark performance, including, in this case, Integral Ad Science. If I were you, would kvetch to them about that.

  4. Tony Jarvis from Olympic Media Consultancy replied, April 20, 2021 at 3:13 p.m.

    Yes, MRC has now moved to "duration weighted viewable impressions" which compounds this anachronism; and which some of my peers find completely untenable.  They believe, as do I, that it deepens the extensive media metrics confusions regarding what is a meaningful media currency (deliberate in some cases like IAS and social media platforms!).  "Duration weighted viewable impressions" also conveniently ignores the myriad of other critical attributes of any media vehaicle beyond duration which can significantly effect exposure by the target audience to the content.  And yet unbelievably they were all ignored.  Its a long  list depending on the medium.   Ignoring any of those 'other' media platform attributes that due to their nature could especially benefit a brand's creative message was unacceptable when I was at Mediacom and to our clients.  
    Viewable Impressions, whether duration weighted or not, are only a benchmark regarding delivery of content to a platform and NOT a media currency!   Clearly important as an initial media qualifier (content properly rendered) but no more. 
    As Erwin Ephron used to say: Delivery is not necessarily receipt; reciept is not necessarily an opportunity-to-see (or hear) the media vehicle's content by a target audience; and oportunity-to-see or hear content is not necessarilty actual exposure to the content or to the ads carried.  Per the ARF Media Model Level 3, which Erwin helped author, no audience exposure or Eyes-On, no brand effects however briliant and impactful the creative and even if the content/ads are perfectly rendered to the full MRC Standard! 
    May I suggest that its the ANA and 4A's that should be kvetching to IAS about their deliberately misleading and inflationary report?  Hopefully this dialogue will also assist their attempts to develop a meaningful cross-media measurement, XMM, approach in collaboration with ISBA, UK, based on the WFA XMM framework.  To unscore.  That initiative is described as a "Cross-MEDIA-Measurement" approach.  Campaign Measurement, the ultimate goal identified by the WFA, encompasses an entirely different set of measurement specifications and requirements.  Consequently that should not be considered a "Cross-MEDIA measurement" as it would lean heavily on factors for which media are not, nor should be, accountable.  (Hint: Just as a start, the creative!)  

  5. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, April 20, 2021 at 3:50 p.m.

    I agree with you, Tony, about duration weighted impressions. Even if there was a maeningful way to calculate impressions  that all agreed with, the basic assumption---that all viewed seconds are equal in value providing the ad is actually attended at all misses a key point. TV commercials are like little stories or presentations---they play out to a conclusion. Having one's eyes on the screen for only five seconds of a 30-second commercial may have no value at all as far as getting the basic sales message is concerned while beyond, say, 15 or 20 seconds, all of them have value as a communications threshold may have been reached. So, even if you insist that a digital video commercial must play out from start to finish---100% "viewability"---just like a TV message---- to be counted for CPM purposes------and you eliminate those who are no longer present----is it necessary to go beyond this and  ascribe value---equal value---- for each second the viewer's eyes were on the screen? Isn't this the advertiser's responsibility, not the media sellers'?

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