Now that the MRC has lifted its Viewable Impression Advisory for display advertising, marketers are entering into an era of clarity around viewability and accountability. Now they must focus on giving advertisers the confidence of knowing their ads are being seen.
The explosive projections for mobile video consumption and investment are due to rampant consumer adoption and the expanding business opportunities spurred by that adoption. This market is one that eMarketer estimates will grow to $12.3 billion by 2018 from $5.9 billion in 2014. It's on a tear. One of the primary factors influencing this pronounced growth is the expectation of ad verification.
There are others drivers of course - the changing nature of consumer adoption toward a more cross-screen mode, industry standardization, and more - but verification is front and center, influencing the growth of our industry. Looking more broadly for a moment, when it comes to buying digital ad inventory, more marketers are choosing to confirm and pay only for ads users can see.
Recently, we ushered in an era of new transactional currency The Media Rating Council (MRC) lifted its Viewable Impression Advisory for display advertising, which enabled marketers to purchase display ads based on new viewability metrics. It's important to understand how the industry defines what counts as "viewable." The new standard indicates that it must first be determined that an ad meets the pixel requirement. A minimum of 50 percent of ad pixels on an in-focus browser must reside on the viewable space of the browser page. And then, a minimum of 50 percent of the ad pixels must be in view for a minimum of two continuous seconds.
Since digital has continued to evolve and diversify the plan beyond traditional media - we have needed measurement parity. The idea of the viewable impression becoming reality is key to putting digital media measurement on par with traditional. In television and print, the viewable opportunity for the consumer is obvious. Radio commercials come to us via broadcast; television commercials happen on screen. Digital is challenged in this sense. Our original industry measurement tech has only measured based on what's been served - neglecting to deal with its rendering or how long it stays on screen.
Thankfully, viewability - the assurance that an ad has had the opportunity to be seen - now exists for the industry as a whole. This assurance affords a new level of confidence that should unlock budgets, allowing for an approach more approximating traditional. Confidence is the key here, allowing us to focus, with greater budget and allocation in hand, on driving accountability, performance, and more ambitious marketing spends overall.
And, if we are honest with ourselves, un-viewable ad impressions had a negative impact on our brands. So, the brand impact potential can only improve from here. If people cannot see a brand's ad, they cannot be attracted and moved by it. We now remove this zero impact impression from the equation.
But now, the institutionalizing of viewability verification will stoke the digital advertising industry's overall vitality and prosperity. With our decision-making unhampered, as we transition from a served impression standard to a viewable impression standard, we can work together to drive unfettered growth, under the positive influence of greater buyer confidence.
I would be remiss not to mention that the video industry, particularly in-app video, has some natural advantages in the area of viewability. These ads typically take over the entire screen and immerse the viewer for 15 or 30 seconds. When placed "in-stream" or within quality video content, those ads are not only viewed, they have a more than 80 percent completion rate, which brand advertisers like, a lot.
As we enter into an era of clarity around viewability and accountability, it is vital that we focus on giving advertisers the confidence to know their ad is being seen and influencing customers and prospects. Fortunately, the industry's lean-forward stance and the emergence of naturally viewable mediums, like mobile video, will push us in the direction we need to go. From there, the walls between "traditional" and "new" media should finally and thankfully be torn down once and for all.
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Paul is an accomplished and well-respected expert in digital media, bringing nearly 20 years of successful digital advertising sales and management to his role as general manager of Rhythm, the mobile division of blinkx.
In 2008, before joining Rhythm, Paul co-founded Inflection Point Media, a media company that helps marketers reach small and medium-sized business decision makers.
In addition to a series of management and sales positions with WebMD, Lycos, and The Wall Street Journal, Paul also directed national sales teams at Internet Broadcasting, where he oversaw sales initiatives across IB's more than 80 TV station partner sites. He also led sales efforts for NBCOlympics.com for the 2004 and 2006 Olympic Games, where he established relationships with blue chip advertisers that led to record-breaking revenue and first-time profitability for the sites.
Paul is also a co-founding board member of two charities, The Tom Deierlein Foundation that works to improve the lives of Iraqi children and the Rough Riders Foundation that supports better education for underprivileged youth. He earned a B.S. in History and Diplomacy from Georgetown University. He and his wife, Laura, live in Connecticut with their three children.
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