Due to page placement, load times, and other unknown factors that compromise display ad visibility, an ad served is not necessarily an ad viewed…but viewable impressions can change that.
Early this year comScore had the digital marketing industry buzzing when it reported that 31 percent of online ads go unseen. Not only are the ads not viewed, but they can't be, because they're placed in areas of the site page that users don't typically see.
While some research firms and vendors with products to sell are notorious for distributing alarmist reports, this is one case where the industry hasn't hesitated to take heed. In the months that have followed the Interactive Advertising Bureau's (IAB's) release, "viewable impressions" have been top of mind for planners, buyers, vendors, and publishers everywhere. So strongly does the IAB feel about their importance that it hopes to influence an industry shift from a served impression standard to one that focuses on viewed impressions and "real exposures." If all goes well, its "3MS" initiative (Making Measurement Make Sense) will be in effect by early 2013, and both advertisers and publishers will be using its online Gross Ratings Point metric to "provide reach and frequency reporting of viewable impressions."
Eager as digital professionals are to listen, they aren't without their concerns. Brand marketers have questions, as one might expect in a situation where the standard approach they've abided for years is about to be flipped on its head. That said, brands would be remiss to scorn an initiative that could result in more effective ad campaigns. We all understand that due to page placement, load times, and other unknown factors that compromise display ad visibility, an ad served is not necessarily an ad viewed. Viewable impressions would address these concerns.
Here's what you need to know.
The notion of changing an industry standard can seem staggering, but you can remain in control of your advertising fate by being alert and aware. Now is the time to read up on viewable impressions. You can bet you'll be crossing paths with them soon.
Screenshot image on home page via http://www.measurementnow.net/.
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Tessa Wegert is a business reporter and former media strategist specializing in digital. In addition to writing for ClickZ since 2002, she has contributed to such publications as USA Today, Marketing Magazine, Mashable, and The Globe and Mail. Tessa manages marketing and communications for Enlighten, one of the first full-service digital marketing strategy agencies servicing such brands as Bioré, Food Network, illy, and Hunter Douglas. She has been working in online media since 1999.
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