USA Today is an early adopter among big site publishers of the viewable impressions metric.
Gannett Co., Inc. and comScore announced today that the publisher will implement viewable impression measurement across ad campaigns appearing on USATODAY.com. The new USA TODAY offering uses comScore's validated Campaign Essentials (vCE) and Digital Analytix Monetization tools to optimize inventory and validate that digital ad impressions are actually seen by an advertiser's desired target audience. The site attracts advertisers including Sheraton and Best Buy.
A revamped USAToday.com went live on September 15, featuring a de-cluttered layout designed, aiming to provide a better environment for advertisers.
The combo of vCE and Digital Analytix Monetization is comScore's response to the Making Measurement Make Sense initiative, according to Anthony Psacharopoulos, senior vice president, comScore. "We completely reformulated the existing delivery we had. This lets the buyer, whether agency or advertiser, know with confidence that an ad was served in a brand-safe environment, and that it was actually viewed," he noted.
In 2011, the Association of National Advertisers, Interactive Advertising Bureau, and American Association of Advertising Agencies first released a set of principles for digital measurement, dubbed the "Making Measurement Make Sense" initiative. In January 2012, comScore released a report that found 31 percent of online ads purchased by 12 major brands were not viewable by the end user. Its vCE Charter Study found that ad viewability varied widely by site and by format.
The IAB hopes to replace the impressions-served metric with the viewable impressions metric by the first quarter of 2013.
On Monday, comScore announced validated Campaign Essentials (vCE) for Video, a product that measures GRPs, demographics and behavioral profiles of audiences reached by video campaigns, as well as whether video ads were viewable - and viewed - by live humans. The vCE Video client list includes AOL, Casale Media, DataXu and PointRoll.
Forbes Media was the first to implement viewable impression measurement across all display ad campaigns appearing on Forbes.com, as part of its validated Brand Increase Guarantee program, in March.
In early August, VivaKi announced a partnership that will provide vCE metrics for ads placed through the VivaKi Nerve Center's Audience on Demand.
In addition to USA Today and Forbes, Psacharopoulos said that comScore is in trials with approximately 90 out of the top 100 publishers in the United States.
Publishers can use comScore's tools to reduce ad inventory by eliminating ads with low viewability, as well as charge more for ad placements with unexpectedly good viewability, according to Psacharopoulos. Agencies, he said, can get real-time information about whether ad placements are viewable.
"We're seeing viewability in many IOs right now," he said. "We're trying to avoid that make-good discussion at the end of the campaign."
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Susan Kuchinskas has covered interactive advertising since its invention. The former staff writer for Adweek, Business 2.0, and M-Business covers technology, business and culture from Berkeley, CA.
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