How Validation Can Trump Digital Waste and Generate Value across the Digital Advertising Ecosystem

Linda Boland Abraham, Anne Hunter and Andrea Vollman


Management slant

  • The digital advertising market was originally established by counting the number of ad impressions that were delivered to computers, not the number that reached consumers using those machines.
  • There is a significant difference between the two, and comScore has developed a "validation" technology that measures this difference.
  • Variables that determine whether or not an ad impression is "validated" include the visibility of the ad to the consumer, geographic targeting accuracy, the reliability of the parties involved in the delivery of the ad (ad must not be delivered fraudulently), and the "brand safety" of the content in which the ad is delivered (must not be offensive, or in conflict with brand values). Only ads that meet these four qualifications are deemed to be "validated."
  • Validation has a significant impact on the reach and frequency of digital ad campaigns. Models that rely on delivered as opposed to validated impressions are likely to overstate both reach and frequency by a substantial margin.
  • Current economic models don't differentiate between delivered and validated ads. This new measurement enables that discrimination, and creates a significant optimization opportunity for both buyers and sellers of digital advertising.