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Viewability - What Advertisers Need to Know

6 February 2018 16:06pm

Viewability has been a hot (and occasionally scalding) topic for brands and publishers alike for a while now – but never more so than in the past year.

Digiday has a good summary for the uninitiated – but essentially the rather logical idea behind viewability is essentially that advertisers only pay for ads that are actually viewed by a person.

The debate/arguments and developing industry standards around it continue apace. And with worries around fraud, ‘non-human traffic’, bots etc. not going away any time soon, viewability seems all the more vital for brands.

As we look ahead to another turbulent year for the advertising world, here is your pocket guide to a few of the key issues around viewability you need to know:

The Speech that Launched a Thousand Viewable Campaigns

Just as brands have an evolving and ever-developing grasp of programmatic, the same could be applied to viewability.

But if one thing put the subject in the spotlight, it was a speech by Mark Pritchard, Chief Brand Officer of the world’s largest advertiser Procter & Gamble at a US IAB get together in January 2017.

Ostensibly Pritchard was marking a line in the sand against the lack of transparency in programmatic, and among certain media agencies, as well as the ‘walled gardens’ of Google and Facebook. But viewability was another strong focus – and he called for standardisation across the board.

Everything is Connected

Was it any accident P&G’s big speech linked together transparency, reporting and viewability with programmatic and the big tech giants? The answer is no – because everything is connected - whatever industry leaders like Google and Facebook do, you can expect the rest of the industry to follow.

If this really was a watershed moment for digital advertising, a key step forward will be if, whoever you are, marking your own homework is no longer acceptable practice. And whether it’s measurement, or indeed viewability you’re talking about, a ‘walled garden’ may just be a convenient excuse for blocking dedicated, neutral parties from doing so instead.

The Addition Plus View: Transparency and Viewability Tied at the Hip

Although it’s still unclear what the ultimate effect of P&G’s lobbying will be, at Addition Plus we believe setting higher standards doesn’t have to start with the world’s largest advertiser, or even Google and Facebook for that matter.

That’s why we have set our own aggressive targets for viewability – and our clients tell us they are industry leading:

We measure viewability according to the standard set out by the MRC (and endorsed by P&G among other).

The average viewability rate on our own campaigns sits above the 70% mark, while the general UK average sits at just under 50%, according to comScore. Our overall aim is to be able to charge on a 100% viewable basis for our clients.

Viewability won’t stop being a hot (or even scalding) topic anytime soon – but we believe it’s through initiatives like our own that our clients don’t end up getting burnt.

Longer term, we also hope, the whole industry stands to benefit.

Jacqui Wallis

Managing Director, Addition Plus