Warc Blog

Viewability metric raises questions

16 April 2014
LONDON: Marketers have responded to the release of new viewability standards for display advertising, designed to bring greater accountability to the format, from the UK's Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB).

The guidelines mirror those previously released in the US and require that "50% of pixels must be in the viewable portion of an internet browser for a minimum of one continuous second to qualify as a viewable display impression for a standard display ad". For Rising Star or large canvas ad formats, the proportion that must be visible falls to 30%.

Standards for video, mobile and tablet are expected to follow later this year and next.

Commenting on the standards, the IAB said it expected that "brand advertisers will enjoy greater accountability, whilst allowing publishers to maximise the value of their inventory".

"Some people are already trading on this already," Steve Chester, IAB's director of data and industry programmes, said, "but we are hoping to create a baseline standard, a currency for people who want to trade on it because at the moment people are working on completely different [impression models]."

But one senior digital marketer told Marketing Week that the guidelines were not very ambitious from an advertisers' perspective, adding that the 50% figure was likely to have been dictated by publishers, rather than being in the interest of brands.

And Marco Ricci, CEO of viewability verifiers AdLoox, argued on MediaTel that a viewablity standard "does little to improve the odds of a client's ad actually being seen, and does even less to effectively tackle the wider, more serious problems of fraud and campaign inefficiency".

Ricci said the focus on viewability missed the fact that many views were by robots and did not address the inefficiency of inappropriate placement.


Data sourced from IAB, Marketing Week, MediaTel; additional content by Warc staff

 
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