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100% viewability this year

News, 02 February 2015

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL: One hundred percent viewability of digital ads is possible in 2015, though there will be implications for the economics of the industry should this happen, a leading Google executive has suggested.

"Google feels very strongly that customers shouldn't pay for non-viewable impressions, especially given the technology's there, finally, to measure that," said Jane Hong, Google DoubleClick's head of industry for CPG advertisers, as she outlined to Beet.TV the viewable solutions now available across display and video.

Advertisers have long understood viewability, Hong said, but there was a challenge around education.

"They [advertisers] believe they should have always been paying just for the viewable impressions," Hong said. "So a lot of advertisers want to be able to jump to that immediately and are asking for 100% viewability."

Hong said she had no doubt that day would come, especially now that publishers were on board with the idea, but suggested that the industry was currently in a transition period. "There's a bit of education (to do) in terms of setting expectations," she added.

When pushed, however, she was bullish on the prospects of achieving 100% viewability during the current year.

"The technology is there; a lot of it is more on the business side – making sure we do it responsibly," she explained.

Referring to a recent Google survey which showed that half of digital ads aren't seen, she asked: "What does that mean for the economics of our industry if we just suddenly said, 'That's it'" and moved to 100% viewability.

"There are some limitations today as far as potential scale loss if you do that," she said.

"The question is, at what price of inventory does that [100% viewability] make sense? How much inventory is there really at that point?"

The leading US advertising industry bodies – 4A's, ANA and the IAB – appeared less concerned with such niceties, declaring in a letter to their members: "We have won. Implementation challenges notwithstanding, the viewable impression is the new reference currency for digital media transactions."

The trade bodies went on to call on marketers, agencies, and publishers to supply the Media Ratings Council with "specially structured data on viewability measurement results for their advertising campaigns" in order for it identify and resolve remaining counting differences by companies and their vendors.

Data sourced from Beet.TV, IAB; additional content by Warc staff