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Videology is now letting advertisers transact on viewability

Videology, a leading programmatic converged TV and video advertising platform, is making a good impression.

The company – which has historically transacted on a traditional CPM model – is introducing “vCPM,” or, viewable CPM. This will allow clients to plan, buy, and execute against a guaranteed price for a guaranteed number of viewable impressions, which will be measured by third party ad verification companies such as Moat, DoubleVerify, and Integral Ad Science.

Clients can either transact on an MRC Standard (50% of pixels on screen for at least two consecutive seconds) or an Extended Viewability Standard (100% of pixels on screen for at least 50% of the video duration, with audio on and the play initiated by a human), and the platform will pull in the third-party data and automatically optimize toward the selected targets.

Display advertisers are becoming increasingly concerned about viewabilty, and Videology, with vCPM, is attempting to offer a complete solution.

For more on the new product and how it will be leveraged, we spoke with Videology CEO Scott Ferber:

Found Remote: Viewability is understandably a concern for traditional display advertisers, but isn't video immune to this? If someone's watching a video, doesn't that mean the ads are necessarily viewable?

Ferber: Viewability has big considerations from both a technical and user-experience point of view. If a video ad starts playing as soon as a page loads, but it’s below the fold, then it likely isn’t going to accomplish advertiser goals. Furthermore, if audio for that ad is turned on automatically then it creates a really bad user experience—leaving the viewer wondering where the audio is coming from when they don’t even see a video player.

Time spent with an ad is another big consideration. In display, ads show all the creative assets at once—so even a quick view still reveals the entire brand message to the viewer. Video, by its very nature, is a whole different beast. A 30-second ad might not reveal the brand name, message or call-to-action until halfway through or near the end of the creative. While the responsibility of building quality creative ultimately falls on the advertiser, it’s still not an apples-to-apples comparison to say a video has been ‘viewed’ if it only shows up on screen for a brief moment.

There are two big standards related to time spent with an ad. The Media Rating Council requires at least 50% of a video’s pixels be on screen for at least two consecutive seconds for an ad to be considered viewable. The extended (and more stringent) standard requires 100% of pixels to be on screen for at least 50% of the video duration, with audio turned on and the play initiated by a human.

Different marketers have different opinions on this, which is why we’re giving the option for clients to choose which standard they prefer.

FR: Advertisers have certainly been demanding the ability to transact on viewability for awhile now; are there instances when they wouldn't want to take advantage of this, though? 

Ferber: Most brand advertisers using video do prioritize viewability, but there are cases where it isn’t the most important metric.

Advertisers looking to drive a direct response care less about viewability as long as their goal action is accomplished. For example, if a pharmaceutical ad shows text encouraging viewers to click through for more information, the advertiser only cares that the user clicks, regardless how much of the ad was seen. The same principle applies to online retailers. The ad is just a means to an end—a click through.

For some advertisers, it makes more sense to focus on viewability as a goal-objective instead of a transaction requirement. Given that proven viewable inventory is constrained in availability, it costs more to place ads there. Proven viewabiltiy is the key term here. We firmly believe there are video ads, which aren’t yet measurable by third parties, but are still viewable. In some cases, publishers or browser partners just haven’t caught up to these new measurement solutions.

If brand-lift or sales-lift studies are showing equally desirable results with a high percentage viewable objective then it might not be worth it to pay the premium for only measured viewable ads. Again, it’s up to the advertiser to adjust their campaign settings based on the specific goals of their campaign.

We offer both options in our platform so advertisers can choose what works best for them.

FR: How will this update impact publishers who are used to transacting on a standard CPM basis? Won't they be losing a lot of money if this is employed by advertisers on scale? 

Ferber: Publishers are very aware of these challenges and working hard to evolve their offerings to ensure it doesn’t happen. Those evolutions can come in a variety of changes such as ensuring ads are placed in context with content that makes sense, updating the technology of their video players and adjusting site layouts so video players are more prominent. 

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