LONDON: With new research shedding light on the necessity for all pixels of an online ad to be in view, given the increased impact of influence on the consumer, the call for an enhanced viewability metric across media types is gaining traction.

In the September issue of Admap, research from Professor Karen Nelson-Field and Dr Erica Riebe provided evidence that 100% of pixels in view consistently outperforms the industry standard. As a result, the industry must begin to reconsider the standards it uses, the authors suggested.

Concerns over online ad viewability began in 2011 in the US, whereupon the IAB, ANA and the 4A’s joined together to form the 3Ms (Making Measurement Make Sense).

By 2014, online ad viewability standards were set: at least 50% of the ad needed to be visible for at least two seconds, according to the Media Ratings Council (MRC). 

In response to the latest research in Admap, Director General of the IPA, Paul Bainsfair, noted that video advertising “both on and offline to be the most effective brand building form”, according to findings from the databank of IPA Effectiveness Awards.

“100% of pixels in view is the basic building block for video advertising to deliver its brand building effectiveness,” he added.

Meanwhile ISBA, the British advertisers’ trade body, cautioned in a statement to WARC that there are “trade-offs in pursuing higher viewability scores, not least likely cost increases”.

However, the prerogative is that of the advertiser, the association continued. “Many of our advertisers are targeting 100% viewability and we believe they should be given the facilities to do this.”

While the MRC standards outlined above continue to receive the organisation’s support, they are minimum thresholds, “not a target or recommendation to our members,” it said.

“We would also recommend advertisers make sure viewability is being properly tracked and measured, and ISBA would advise using JICWEBS certified third party verification partners.”

Meanwhile, last month the European Viewability Steering Group (EVSG), a European cross-industry body, announced the launch of a comprehensive European Viewability Certification Framework to help deliver more accurate and consistent digital advertising brand exposure metrics.

And GroupM, WPP’s media investment management group, announced an evolution of its own standards.

Speaking to WARC last week, the company’s Digital Risk Director, Bethan Crockett, explained that standards needed to move forward in order to adapt to new behaviours.

For instance, “younger generations consume video in a different way,” she explained. As a result, both native and outstream ads must be 100% viewable with 50% completion of the total length with or without sound. The company clarified its position in comments to Adweek last week.

Crockett emphasised the importance of robust academic research, adding that it will add to the conversations already happening within the industry.

However, the effects of these calls won’t be immediately visible, she cautioned, and that the real change will take place in the coming years.

Ultimately, she said, the budget holders are the ones with influence, and they collectively will decide the future viewability standards that they expect.

Data sourced from WARC