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Snapchat shows way on viewability

News, 17 February 2015

NEW YORK: Viewability means different things to different people, but the disappearing ads of Snapchat offer a very simple assurance that they have been seen, an adtech expert has argued.

The standard definition of viewability is that offered by the Media Ratings Council: that 50% of an ad's pixels are in view for one second. But as Ad Exchanger noted, that is just a starting point.

Does "100% viewable" mean that all ads in a given exchange are viewable based on the MRC's definition. Or is it a guarantee that advertisers will pay only for ads that are in view? Or does it refer to the, probably more intuitive, notion that 100% of the pixels in an ad must be in view before the ad is counted?

Ephraim Bander, president of adtech company Sticky, observed that amid all this heated debate, Snapchat provided an elegant simplicity.

"The very nature of ads on Snapchat is that they will behave just like regular posts on the platform," he wrote in Advertising Age. "They will disappear, yes, but they will only disappear once they have been seen."

At $750,000 per ad they might be expensive, Bander conceded, "but they offer us a guarantee that even Google can't make – that ads will be seen".

He suggested that advertisers might worry less about spending that sort of money on an ad that can only be seen once and instead ask why they're spending so much on "campaigns that don't even get a chance to disappear because they're never in-screen, and have no chance to be seen at all".

Clearly Snapchat is only an appropriate platform for certain brands but, Bander argued, "advertisers need to learn from the Snapchat model and hold publishers to the same standards that the app promises".

For him, that included guarantees from publishers that ads will load on time and in-screen.

Ad Exchanger also referred to the problem of there being too much technology, so that, for example, "an ad bloated with data beacons might load too slowly and the user scrolls past before it renders".

Data sourced from Ad Exchanger, Advertising Age; additional content by Warc staff