U.K.-based start-up OnScroll, which has an ad technology platform that enables publishers, networks and agencies to serve viewable-only inventory, has released an infographic on viewable impressions, or ads that actually appear in a visible area of a user's screen while they are on a website.
OnScroll is in private beta. It will launch in March at SXSW Interactive.
According to OnScroll, ad impressions are currently sold based on when they leave an ad server so an advertiser has no idea whether the ads they buy ever convert to viewable ads. Reasons why served ads aren't always viewed include: the ad is served below the fold and the user doesn't scroll, ad blockers are being used and page loads on a mobile device are not configured to show the ad content.
According to Co-Founder Babac Vafaey, OnScroll technology restricts the delivery of an ad until the viewable impression definition set by the Internet Advertising Bureau, or IAB, has been achieved. By monitoring onsite user behavior, OnScroll says it can establish and execute the most appropriate moment at which to deliver a viewable ad unit, ensuring that the delivered ad will be seen by a user.
In its private beta implementations, OnScroll says it has increased each site's advertising inventory by up to 10 percent per added OnScroll unit. Engagement rates compared to standard units also increased, with CTRs and hover-over rates up by 31 percent and 39 percent respectively, OnScroll says.
According to OnScroll's infographic The State of Viewable Impressions, 46 percent of all online ads served meet the IAB's Making Measurement Make Sense (3MS) proposed viewability standard. Under the 3MS initiative, the IAB defines a viewable impression as one in which at least 50 percent of an ad is in view for a minimum of one second. On a global basis, that equates to $11.7 billion in annual wasted ad spend, OnScroll says.
"2012 was the year that viewable impressions increased considerably in awareness in the industry, and all media stakeholders acknowledged that it was an issue which needed addressing. It was also the year that key industry bodies announced that they were pushing for the adoption of viewable impressions throughout the industry," Vafaey says.
OnScroll goes on to call 2013 the year of the viewable impression because it's when they will become a mainstream form of currency for buying online banner display inventory.
In order to ensure their ads are really viewed, Vafaey says brands must utilize viewable-only serving technologies or buy through vendors that offer viewable-only inventory.
The benefits of viewable inventory are not exclusive to response rates. Forrester predicts publishers will be able to command higher CPM rates for viewable inventory, forecasting an increase in rates of 76% by 2017. In addition, with OnScroll, publishers will be able to better monetize each page by placing more below-the-fold ads knowing that rates and responses will not be diluted, the company says.
"Overall it's brilliant news for brands," Vafaey says. "It will mean that unlike before, (brands) can eliminate unknown wastage from their ad buys and ensure an overall much higher quality of ad impression bought. Studies have already shown that viewable impressions increase ad response rates, so by ensuring all ads that are served meet the viewability criteria, advertisers will benefit from a higher level of quality ads available."
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Lisa Lacy is senior staff writer at ClickZ. In addition to ClickZ, her work has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Luxury Spot, LearnVest, MarthaStewart.com, GoodHousekeeping.com, amNewYork, and The Wall Street Journal. She's a graduate of Columbia's School of Journalism.
March 19, 2014