IAB Says Digital Ad Viewability Measurement of 100% isn’t Possible Yet; Releases Viewability Guidelines for Marketers
In a new study published by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) called “State of Viewability Transaction 2015,” the bureau revealed that it isn’t possible yet to achieve 100% viewability measurement for digital ads, recommending that measured impressions for these ads should be held to a 70% viewability threshold.
2015, according to the study, is foreseen as a “year of transition,” wherein marketers and agencies will see a shift of currency for digital ads from served-impressions to a viewable-impression basis. An ad’s viewability refers to its ability to be seen by buyers online, and it has become a significant issue among marketers and agencies who might be concerned about paying for digital ads that only a few people will get exposed to. According to the standards set by the Media Rating Council (MRC), an ad can only be deemed “viewable” if 50% of it is viewed for one second or more.
“It’s time to set the record straight about what is technically and commercially feasible, in order to get ourselves on an effective road to 100 percent viewability and greater accountability for digital media,” Randall Rothenberg, President and CEO of the IAB, said in the official press release.
He expressed his support for marketers whose goal is to achieve full viewability measurement for their ads, but agreed with the MRC that current measurement systems and technologies aren’t capable of this yet. Rothenberg also mentioned that ad units, browsers, ad placements, vendors, as well as measurement methodologies “yield wildly different viewability numbers.”
Viewability talks have been going around throughout the year, and although it is now heading toward becoming a “currency”, some reports still expose issues concerning the viewability of digital ads. Integral Ad Science’s most recent data from the third quarter of 2014 shows that 36.7% of the total display ads were considered viewable—down from 45.3% in the second quarter.
It’s important to note that the rate during the second quarter was down from the 51.3% viewability rate during the first quarter. Another study published by Google claimed that more than half (56.1%) of all digital ads are not seen.
IAB’s study included a comprehensive set of guidelines that marketers, agencies, and publishers should follow in order to successfully manage the shift to 100% viewability in 2015. The list contains billing recommendations, what steps to take if a campaign fails to achieve the 70% viewability threshold, advice on make-goods, viewability of ads with large formats, and several other principles.
Rothenberg encourages marketers, publishers, agencies, and tech companies to “[work] collaboratively to make measurement make sense.” He added, “We won’t do it by holding guns to each other’s’ heads.”
To learn more about IAB’s viewability study, download it here.
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