By: Mariama Holman
The single greatest barrier to programmatic advertising’s growth is digital measurement.
What exactly is a viewable impression?
Per a statement released by the IAB on March 31, 2014, a viewable display ad impression is an ad that has a “minimum of 50 percent of pixels in view for a minimum of 1 second.”
However viewability measurement for each ad is difficult to attain and total campaign performance is being debated by measurement vendors.
Consistent viewability measurements in question
The Media Ratings Council states that 100 percent viewability is unreasonable at the current time, given the limitations of current technology.
The programmatic industry cannot currently measure the viewability of all served impressions given measurability vendors produce campaign level viewability data for publishers that varies by as widely as 30 to 40 percent.
Media spend needs apples-to-apples comparisons
Accurate viewability measurements are still crucial for determining the ROI of campaign performance.
As companies plan their media budgets, they need to be able to have an apples-to-apples comparison on their media inventory across media platforms, both analog and digital.
According to the IAB, the programmatic industry is heading towards using GRPs (gross-rating points), or a standard for measuring advertising impact, to normalize ad spend comparisons and optimize ad campaigns.
IAB strives towards unified campaign measurement standards
The IAB recently released the The State of Viewability to outline guidelines for aiding marketers, advertisers and publishers in standardizing campaign performance metrics, with the goal of reaching 100 percent ad viewability.
Below, the IAB’s 2015 Transaction Principles are outlined:
- Billing should be based on the number of served impressions – separated into 2 categories: measured and non-measured impressions.
- Given different vendors measure viewability differently, and the limitations of current technology, measured impressions should achieve a 70 percent or higher viewability threshold.
- If a campaign does not achieve this 70 percent threshold level, publishers will make good with additional viewable impressions until that threshold is met. This ensures that all paid measureable ad impression will be viewable at a threshold that exceeds minimum standards and fall within observed standards.
- All make-goods should be in the form of additional viewable impressions, not cash, and should be delivered in a reasonable time frame. Said impressions should be both viewable and consistent with inventory purchased in the original campaign. Determination of threshold achievement should be based on total campaign impressions.
- For large format ads (242,500 pixels or more) a “viewable impression” is counted if 30 percent of pixels are viewable for one second or longer.
- All transactions should use MRC accredited vendors only.
- Buyers and sellers should agree on a single measurement vendor ahead of time to avoid costly, labor-intensive, manual processes of inventory reconciliation and viewability.