I recently participated in an industry event called Programmatic 401. The event was held in the middle of NewFronts 2015 in an effort to give some perspective and education on programmatic buying when others were showcasing their glitz and glam to gain interest in new and original programming. One of the topics discussed, of course, was viewability. I hosted a panel that brought together a variety of experts representing digital publishers in magazine, television and commerce industries to share their experiences on viewability. We had an in-depth discussion on how publishers today are programming content for the dichotomy of consumer behavior and advertiser demands.
There were few fireworks on the panel; however, everyone agreed that digital media is held to a higher standard, and, logically, advertisers only want to pay for ads that are able to be seen. The consensus on the panel was that the biggest challenge in the industry right now is the lack of a consistent currency for transacting on viewability. This complaint comes from the discrepancies between measurement vendors and a lack of clear standards by which to judge. How should publishers conduct business with advertisers and agencies that are asking for wildly different requirements when it comes to viewability, anywhere from 70 to 100 percent?
The logical first step for any publisher is establishing a benchmark for viewablity, regardless of the vendor. Once a guidepost is established, buyers and sellers have a much easier time coming together at the table and looking for ways to optimize and improve the number of ads seen during a campaign. In a recent study, one advertiser found that optimizing for viewability resulted in a dramatic improvement in conversion performance.
The love fest that went down during the panel brought me to an interesting conclusion: viewability is table steak. It is expected to be a core measure on all campaigns by all advertisers. No one is arguing that viewability shouldn’t be measured or clients shouldn’t demand it—rather it’s understood and reasonable to expect your ads to be seen. We’ve moved on from that argument, and now we are focused on redesigning web sites, improving measurement technology and enhancing the formats to maximize the metric. This is an exciting realization as we work towards a better internet, making advertising work better for clients and adding value to consumers.
My prediction is that viewability will no longer be a point of contention, but a metric that brings the buyer and seller together. The focus going forward will be on optimization and gaining insight into the impact of viewability on performance and attribution. What do you think?
Programmatic is taking over the digital advertising world, and at an even faster rate than expected, according to eMarketer, which raised its forecast for programmatic ad spending in the U.S. on the back of growth in mobile and video programmatic buys.
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