Viewability: Users See the Ads; Do Marketers See the Value?
[Editor's note: This is a contributed article attempting to make the case for viewability as a metric. We thought this would stir a bit of debate due to the growing need for content marketing attribution, which marketing teams are using to determine which touchpoints matter.]
ZenithOptimedia estimates display ad spending will reach $50 billion this year. At the same time, numerous industry estimates state that roughly 50 percent of ads are never seen. That's approximately $25 billion wasted this year … just on display.
Given the Media Ratings Council's recent announcement on the progress of viewability standardization across vendors, you'd expect every agency to dive headfirst into applying viewability measurement across their campaigns. But a funny thing happened on the way to typical vendor assessment …
Rather than enduring endless pitch decks touting the latest "must-have" product, agencies are instead demanding specific use cases for how a viewability solution unlocks additional media value. In order to prove the utility of a viewability solution to their advertiser clients, agencies are demanding that viewability data, by default, be layered against performance metrics (viewable CPM, viewable CPC, etc.), and not just represented as a standalone data point.
The potential value goes beyond campaign planning and assessment. Agencies increasingly are interested in sophisticated attribution models. While ascribing value to a complex chain of ads can be difficult, the addition of viewability can increase the confidence that the ROI assessment is both thorough and accurate.
Attribution models, after all, take into account more than just clicks, interactions and conversions. Though their value can be difficult to assess, every ad exposure can be meaningful, and they often serve as critical links in the path to conversion. When assessing the impact of a display touchpoint, sophisticated attribution models ought to consider viewability when determining the true contribution of an ad impression.