Viewability is a critical step toward better attribution and increased efficiency for display advertising. It reduces the number of wasted impressions, rewards quality websites, and draws a clearer connection between ads that work and the lift that they produce. We have done extensive internal experimentation to develop and hone our models and better understand the efficacy of various solutions in the market. Our goal is to become a leader in enabling advertisers to maximize the viewability, and thus the effectiveness, of their campaigns.
The IAB’s definition for a viewable display ad calls for at least 50% of the ad’s content to be on-screen for more than one second. At Quantcast, we typically use the term viewability when talking about the likeliness that an ad will be viewable, i.e., a unit with 50% viewability will be IAB viewable, on average, 50% of the time.
There are a number of technical challenges associated with accurately measuring an ad’s viewability.
- Large percentage of “Dark Viewability” (i.e., Unmeasurable Inventory). The most common challenge in the RTB environment is detecting whether an ad displayed within a nested iFrame (“cross-domain iFrames”) is on-screen or not. Most modern web browsers hide on-screen/off-screen information when using a nested iFrame, which makes measurement of viewability difficult. Different vendors use different workarounds for this challenge, often with varying degrees of success. This can create significant variances between viewability vendors.
- Inconsistent Viewability Definition. There is a lack of consistency around what a “viewable impression” actually is. While the IAB has released their 50% in-view for 1 second definition, there are still many other definitions being used, making it difficult for marketers to build technology to support these different models.
- Discrepancies in Viewability Methodology and Measurement. Viewability measurement is still inconsistent and somewhat flawed. Different ad units, browsers, ad placements, vendors and measurement methodologies yield wildly different viewability numbers. Agencies and publishers often use different vendors, which has also made it harder to settle on measurement and pricing numbers on which both sides agree.
- Unpredictable human element. Since the viewability of an ad is tied to somewhat unpredictable user browsing behavior specific to each individual domain they visit, it is impossible to predict ahead of time whether an ad will be viewable with 100% accuracy.
- Average viewability is still low across all inventory sources. According to Moat’s Q2 2015 report, 56.6% direct inventory and 49.3% programmatic inventory is in-view. Similarly, DoubleVerify released Q1 2015 numbers stating that 49% of direct publisher inventory, 43% of ad networks, and 37% of RTB inventory is in-view. Programmatic partners have to make trade-offs between scale, performance, and viewability. Setting a high threshold will restrict inventory, sometimes at the detriment to reach and efficiency.
- In-View Misalignment with DR Goals. Viewability is rarely used as a stand-alone metric, but instead, as part of multi-faceted performance approach. However, viewability is based on somewhat unpredictable user browsing behavior specific to each individual domain they visit. That means it is easy to inadvertently optimize away from quality sites that would otherwise give you a good ROI. Therefore, if your campaign is performing efficiently, it’s better to look at Viewability as a secondary metric.
Quantcast Viewability Solutions::
- Viewability Optimization. Quantcast viewability optimization is done in real-time based on historical measured impression data from the past year. Note, because highly viewable inventory commands a higher price, campaigns with premium viewability goals may require increased budget. We will develop a custom proposal to meet your needs, incorporating your viewability goal, overall campaign objectives, and budget.
- vCPM Pricing. Quantcast is one of the first vendors able to offer VCPM pricing at scale. VCPM shifts the risk of unviewable inventory away from the marketer and onto Quantcast. By subtracting any out-of-view impressions from the invoice, VCPM allows you to skip the hassle of worrying about 50, 60 or 100% viewability and focus on the core metric: serving viewable impressions.
Both solutions are measured based on a third party viewability partner. Quantcast accepts all MRC accredited vendors and most commonly used industry viewability solutions. If your solution is not MRC accredited, we will request permission to add an independent, MRC accredited viewability vendor to the campaign, at no charge to you. This is to ensure that we have an audited source of viewability measurement.
To help maximize your viewability enabled campaign’s performance:
- Use a MRC Accredited Viewability Vendor. If you’re going to measure viewability, accreditation ensures that your measurements are accurate.
- Ask your attribution vendor if they can filter non-viewable impressions. Understanding a viewability-enabled campaign’s true performance requires an attribution system that tracks if an impression was in-view.
- Keep viewability goals consistent across comparable campaigns. Without a viewability enabled attribution system, a campaign that avoids low-viewability, last-view impressions will suffer a perceived performance penalty when measured against one that doesn’t.
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