Video Ad Viewability: A 5-Step Survival Guide
Viewability. What's all the fuss?
The topic's sudden pervasiveness, especially pertaining to video advertising, is a reflection of the industry's uncomfortable, yet necessary, growing pains. And while growth and maturity are good for everyone in the end, the pains are causing no small amount of angst among both buyers and sellers.
First, both sides are caught in a technology gap between a perceived ideal end state — ads are paid for only if they're viewed — and the current state — ads are traded based primarily on impressions.
Second, there's a philosophical gap. Viewability is suddenly the most sought-after currency as a result of last year's quality of ad views, with regard to fraud and ambiguous impressions. However, this is occurring at the risk of context and environment being forever forgotten as additional and equally essential proxies for quality.
Like many other ad tech topics du jour, the discourse could first of all use more definition. We're far from having a standard form of measurement for viewability. There's no shortage of MRC-accredited measurement vendors, each with a slightly different criteria for video viewability.
What's viewable is in the eye of the beholder
Yet in tests using the exact same inventory across several vendors in this category, the results were surprisingly different in each case. Data that should have been equivalent from one vendor's report to the next was mismatched; sometimes it was close, sometimes less so. Which answers were right was anybody's guess. The takeaway is we have a long way to go with measurement standards, definitions and certifications.
There is hope, however. In the past several months, the industry has made strides toward a uniform definition of viewability. The IAB, 4A's and the ANA have put aside their differences and "are in lockstep in support of the MRC and its position as the standards-setting body."
Related story: 5 Ways to Grow Your Business With Video Analytics