Viewable ads

The limitations of current Viewable Ad Technologies

Viewable video advertising has been and is a huge topic of conjecture in the digital ad industry.

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Viewable video advertising is a huge topic in the digital ad industry. This is because of the struggle to come up with a consistent way to deliver and measure 100% ad viewability.

There’s a discrepancy within the industry as to what the term ‘viewable’ actually means. There’s yet to be an agreed metric that tells both supply and demand if an ad unit is in view. And if it was in view, for how long?

There are multiple tech partners measuring viewability within the ecosystem, but no one method is the same. Whilst advertisers value the length of time and full resolution of an ad, publishers are less likely to value that metric in the same way. The IAB has their own standards but, to cut a long story short, there’s no consensus here. An industry-wide viewability measurement system is the loch ness monster of ad tech. If it does exist, it’s lurking below the surface, waiting to be discovered but so far, evading us all.

The marketplace has the ability to sell viewable impressions, but there’s a lack of efficiency on the sell-side that limits publisher yield. Advertisers are unlikely to pay for an impression that’s not deemed viewable by their own measurement standards. At the moment it’s a one-sided solution and we need a consistent algorithm if the benefits are to be equally spread. We can’t lump all of this terminology together and expect a ‘one size fits all’ metric. But we can get smarter about how we measure.

The requirements for viewable standards

The IAB and MRC have established minimum viable requirements for viewable advertising.

According to the IAB and MRC online viewable ad impressions guidelines:

As a baseline, it’s simple to appreciate the in-view measure aims to be an objective, qualitative, measure that simply answers the following questions:

  • Was the ad served?

  • Did it appear in-view?

  • Was there an opportunity for the user of the device to see it?

While these are the very basic guidelines for digital advertising, the metrics differ between ad formats:

  • For in-page display advertising, there must be 50%+ pixels in view for more than 1 second.

  • For video advertising, there must be 50%+ pixels in view for 2+ seconds.

The problem with current measurement

These seemingly basic standards are difficult to measure because browsers load content differently. In addition to this, many ad tech vendors are working to their own measurement of these standards. This means each vendor’s results will be different, affect expected CPMs and create mistrust.

Some vendors will assume certain domains are viewable and others aren’t depending on the historical data of those domains. But domain content changes regularly and ads vary widely, so this method can be very inaccurate. So while industry players are trying to address these issues, we’re not accelerating to true ‘viewability’ very quickly and we could be disadvantaging a lot of publishers.

Coull pre-bid viewability technology

To give our demand partners the very best opportunity to engage with their customers we developed Coull’s pre-bid viewability technology. Of course, the first step along that road to viewability that everyone seems to be moonwalking towards, is very simply for the ad to be seen in compliance for the minimum standards.

What we’ve developed is the ability to detect where the ad unit is on the page before it’s served, in other words, pre-bid viewability. This enables advertisers to decide what inventory to purchase based on whether their ad would likely be in view. We have the ability to run viewability tech that combines historical viewability and pre-bid viewability data. This tech is tested across different browsers to try and mitigate the lack of consistency, as well and give the best potential for efficiency and ROI success across campaigns.

For media companies, the ability to sell inventory that shows a high level of viewability delivery and opportunity to see means an increase in the value of that inventory in the market.

The biggest advantage of using this viewability technology is that it minimizes wasted ad spend, giving demand partners real-time data to help them make the best buying decision.

Coull provides viewability analysis using both page geometry and browser optimization and the tech is available through the Coull Video Ad Exchange which is in beta phase right now; due for full release before the end of the year.

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Posted by simonholliday