What you need to know about advertising’s viewability metric

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Prior to today, have you ever heard of the viewability online advertising metric? This tool is now gaining major traction after a new report from Google was released this week.

Every digital advertising professional understands that viewability remains one of the most important elements of online media. This crucial online advertising metric, which monitors impressions that can be viewed by users, gives marketers the data to determine if consumers are actually viewing their content.

The Google Report

According to data released by Google, more than half (56 percent) of all advertisements purchased through the search engine are never seen by individuals, and the company is placing the blame for this immense figure mostly on publishers.

For instance, if an ad is at the bottom of the homepage then it’s unlikely the visitor is going to scroll all the way down. Google could very well place the blame on webmasters since publishers are in charge of inserting ads or links whereever they wish.

The tech titan noted that advertisers are beginning to shy away from served impressions in favor of viewability. This is why marketers need to understand what exactly drives the viewability of ads, something that Google has attempted to solve with its Nov. 2014 study entitled “The Importance of Being Seen: Viewability Insights for Digital Marketers and Publishers.”

According to Google’s “5 Factors of Viewability” infographic, there are several factors to consider in order to enhance viewability and garner the attention of consumers, including:

  • Ad size: The highest viewable success rates were found in vertical units (120 x 240: 55.6 percent). The most popular ad size rate is 468 x 60 (46.2 percent).
  • Page position: The most viewable position is right above the fold.
  • Content: Production of content is imperative because content that holds the individual’s attention the most has greater viewability.
  • Above-the-fold/Below-the-fold: Not every single above-the-fold impression is viewable, while a large number of below-the-fold impressions are viewable.

What the Industry is Saying

The Media Relation Council (MRC) maintained the stance in October that 100 percent viewability is implausible. The organization generated buzz when it wrote that it’s presently “unreasonable for advertisers, agencies and publishers implementing viewable impressions as measurement currency to expect to observe viewable rates of 100% in analyses of their campaigns.”

Although Google is encouraging greater attention to viewability success, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) averred Tuesday in its “State of Viewability Transaction 2015” that achieving 100 percent viewability is currently impossible. The IAB argues marketers are becoming increasingly frustrated by the fact that a bulk of consumers aren’t seeing the ads they paid for.

“It’s time to set the record straight about what is technically and commercially feasible, in order to get ourselves on an effective road to 100 percent viewability and greater accountability for digital media,” said Randall Rothenberg, President and CEO of IAB, in a statement. “The MRC said it best – 100 percent is currently unreasonable. Why? Because, different ad units, browsers, ad placements, vendors and measurement methodologies yield wildly different viewability numbers.”

Rothenberg added that the only way to resolve the issues with viewability is if publishers, advertisers, agencies and ad tech firms collaborate instead of coercing each other to conjure up a brand new idea to accomplish a perfect viewability model.

A Viewability Standard in the Future?

If a dependable standard is established then it could change the way digital advertising works. However, it has been presented that such a transition could potentially hurt publishers as they feel their ad revenues will be severely impacted since they will have fewer impressions to sell.

Of course, this is only a hypothetical because it still remains unknown as to how much of an impact viewability will have on the entire industry. Ostensibly, the major players in marketing will continue to push for viewability since they benefit the most from negotiation tools and enhanced optimization methods.

Industry professionals say that in the future ad technologies will inevitably evolve and produce improved techniques of measuring viewability.

Also, both marketing agencies and publishers will support scarcity over abundance. Over the past number of years, online advertisers may have perhaps over-monetized online real estate since digital marketing continues to change. Moving forward, online advertisers may take another look at their priorities and seek out more lucrative publishers and locations.

In other words, they would want to declutter webpages and implement a much cleaner décor.

360iU recommends that advertisers interested in incorporating viewability into their model should focus their campaigns on direct-response ads, connect view impressions with optimization and work with a research firm that provides a “viewable impression validation suite.”

As various publishers remained shackled to the chains of click-through rates, others are turning their attention to viewability. You should too.

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