Viewable Impressions Metric As The Industry Standard
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Viewable Impressions Metric As The Industry Standard

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TargetCast talks about establishing principles for future measurement: moving from ad served impressions to a viewable impressions metric as the industry standard.

TargetCast talks about establishing principles for future measurement: moving from ad served impressions to a viewable impressions metric as the industry standard.

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Viewable Impressions Metric As The Industry Standard Document Transcript

  • 1. Viewable Impressions – Measuring Value for Online Marketers Executive Summary The leading industry trade organizations are pushing for the adoption of a viewable impression metric to guarantee that advertising agencies are reporting on impressions seen (rather than served) and it has sparked a debate among media professionals who disagree over how efficient the online media marketplace is {and whether or not they get what they pay for online?}. While we advocate the usage of the viewable impression metric and believe it will help us optimize and report on our media buys, we do not think it is appropriate for all online media {buy} types. Specifically, for ~80% of online media, including SEM (CPC based), Sponsorships, Digital Video (Cost per View) and Social Media (primarily CPC based), the viewable metric is not applicable and if implemented across the board could negatively impact pricing and limit our ability to employ select strategies, such as targeted cookie pool building. Introduction Momentum continues to build for industry-wide adoption of a "viewable" impression standard for measuring online campaigns. This standard would replace the "served impression" as the basis for campaign reporting and eliminate ad placements that – problematically - are never seen, but still influence reporting. Last September, the IAB called on media buyers and sellers to move to the viewable impression standard. While several companies have introduced products to support this migration - including C3 Metrics, RealVu and comScore – there is still little agreement on the size of the problem. For example, in January, comScore reported that 31% of online ads were not viewable by users while RealVu continues to maintain that the problem is much worse, with up to 80% of ads going unseen. Regardless, advertisers could use viewable impressions reports to optimize display campaigns around sites, sections and ad unit sizes that serve the most viewable impressions. Other value could come as advertisers recalibrate CTRs based on ads that were actually “seen” by users, increasing response rates. Conversely, a focus on viewable ad inventory could increase costs on ad buys, as the pool of sellable inventory would shrink and more layers of technology would be required to manage campaigns. Viewable Impressions – Measuring Value for Online Marketers Confidential & Proprietary Do not distribute without express written consent from TargetCast, Inc. All rights reserved www.targetcast.com
  • 2. With so many conflicting opinions and a desire to bring more clarity to the value of an impression to ensure that advertisers are getting what they “pay for,” it is easy to see why the debate regarding the merits of paying for and evaluating online ad campaigns based on viewable impressions is raging. In this POV, we provide context for this debate, dissect the pros and cons of adopting the viewable impression metric and provide on our opinion on the matter: Viewable Impression Defined The viewable impression metric would measure ads that are seen by a user (50% in view, displayed on screen for at least one second), rather than measuring all impressions served {even those that aren’t seen}; the idea being to count only real exposures of ads. In contrast - today’s standard - the served impression metric counts impressions by analyzing http requests in a server log {regardless if the ad was seen or not}. Why Ads May Not Be Viewable Unfortunately, either due to users’ surfing habits or fraudulent business practices (by publishers/ad networks), many online ads are never seen. The following list outlines why an ad may not appear to a viewer online (and what factors advertisers need to overcome): • The viewer clicks to another web page before the ad loads • The ad loads, but in an area of the web page that is not within the viewer's browser window dimensions • The viewer has a particular type of ad blocker installed that disrupts ad serving but still initiate the count of an impression • The viewer does not have the proper plug-in to render interactive media installed • The viewer opens a page in a mobile device that is not configured to show the ad content • The viewer minimizes the browser • The viewer opens another browser window/tab or another application • The request was made by an (invisible to the viewer) web page re-direct • The web publisher places multiple ad displays in layers over each other. The viewer then sees one ad, but impressions are reported for all layered ads. • An ad or beacon delivered in an invisible width="0" height="0" Iframe Making Measurement Make Sense Initiative (3MS) Viewable Impressions – Measuring Value for Online Marketers Confidential & Proprietary Do not distribute without express written consent from TargetCast, Inc. All rights reserved www.targetcast.com
  • 3. Making Measurement Make Sense is a cross-industry coalition committed to developing brand building and crossplatform digital metrics to aid the digital marketplace. The coalition consists of the IAB, ANA and the 4As. The initial work done by the coalition has resulted in establishing principles for future measurement including the move from ad served impressions to a “viewable impression metric” as the industry standard. Ultimately, the hope is that as a result of introducing this metric, a standard currency for measuring online exposures will be achieved and overall ad inventory quality will improve and cross platform comparisons will be easier to achieve. Thus far, in limited testing (10MM ROS impressions across 16 sites from 4/19 – 4/25) through DoubleClick DART and overseen by Bain, the 3MS Initiative revealed that anywhere from 25% to 67% of impressions served were viewable. Regardless, the 3MS Initiative is targeting a Q1 2013 adoption date, as advertisers and publishers will be using the eGRP metric (a more audience-focused complement to the viewable impression metric that speaks to brand advertisers) by that time. The eGRP that will be based on viewable impressions and the total US population will serve as the universe for digital GRPs (rather than TV households). However, the current online ad classification system (ad size, ad location, number of ads on page, etc.) must be evolved to evaluate GRPs so better comparisons can be made between the varying types of media in market. How We Operate Today Currently, the industry relies on impressions served (regardless if the ad was seen or not) to determine if a campaign delivers in full. As such, the CPM is primarily how online media is bought and sold. However, in order to ensure visibility and protect our clients’ ad investment, we employ the following measures: • Negotiate sponsorships/premium positioning on sites and dominant SOV to ensure that our clients own the most visible ad space online • Use Insertion Orders that require publishers to serve bought impressions “above the fold” to improve the likelihood that our ads will be seen • Employ ad verification software, such as DoubleVerfiy to provide us with a real-time audit of all online advertising transactions and letting us know where on a web page an ad ran, when it ran and for how long it was displayed on the page for • Buy select media on Ad Exchanges at the page level • Buy select media on a CPC basis, paying for clicks only (regardless of how many impressions are served) • Buy select media on a CPA basis, paying for completed click-based transactions and paying for 0 – 10% max of all view-based conversions (regardless of how many impressions are served) Viewable Impressions – Measuring Value for Online Marketers Confidential & Proprietary Do not distribute without express written consent from TargetCast, Inc. All rights reserved www.targetcast.com
  • 4. • Buy video and rich media ads on a cost per view/engagement basis • Optimize media buys based on: front and backend performance and ad verification software stats While these measure help TargetCast (and other agencies who employ similar media buying tactics) secure premium real estate for clients efficiently and mitigate the impact of ad impressions that are paid for, but rarely seen, the industry’s major trade organizations continue to push for the adoption of the viewable impressions metric and many ad buyers contemplate the notion of a vCPM – a CPM based on viewable impressions only. Pros for Implementing a Viewable Impression Metric and vCPM Proponents of a viewable impression metric and the notion of a vCPM highlight two main points in support of their position: 1. In display, the industry has been dealing with a surplus of impressions – many of them low quality (out of view, not brand safe, contextually irrelevant, etc.). Buying viewable impressions (or placements with a high chance of being in view) limits the surplus of display impressions to more quality ones and therefore incentivizes publishers to create higher quality, better-performing inventory. 2. Since a significant number of advertisers value “view through” conversions (conversions attributable to a “viewed” impression), they are attributing value to many ads that are in fact never even seen, which gives rise to two issue – 1) publishers with high quality ads (often all above the fold), subsidize low quality publishers with multiple ads that are never seen and 2) “View through” is a weak measure at the best, and if the ad isn’t seen a measure with little to no value Cons for Implementing a Viewable Impression Metric and vCPM Those who oppose the idea of a vCPM believe that the ad marketplace is efficient and contend that viewable impressions are not cost effective for both media buyers and sellers and should not become the currency in digital media. Specifically, if a particular publisher’s below the fold ad slot never leads to a desired outcome (click, conversion, etc.) then the impression will be worth pennies and the marketer will not over pay for it and eliminate it from the mix. Our Position We believe that the overall quality of advertising must improve (i.e., fewer ads per page, elimination of the smallest ad unit sizes, more dramatic steps taken to prevent fraudulent ad serving) and while the viewable Viewable Impressions – Measuring Value for Online Marketers Confidential & Proprietary Do not distribute without express written consent from TargetCast, Inc. All rights reserved www.targetcast.com
  • 5. impression metric would be beneficial in some instances to correct this problem, we do not advocate standardizing it for all online media and basing all media buying and optimization decisions on it. While many impressions are out of sight, as the PWC chart below illustrates, an analysis of % of total ad revenue by channel reveals that a majority (~80%) of media dollars online are spent against ad inventory types that would not be impacted by the introduction of a viewable impression metric: • ~50% spent vs. CPC based SEM, where buyers are not concerned with viewable impressions – only clicks • 10% spent vs. Rich Media and Digital Video which is often bought on a CPV (cost per view) or CPE (cost per engagement) basis • 7% spent vs. Classified Ads which are typically text + logo ads and often do not reside below the fold • 5% spent vs. CPA based Lead Generation initiatives so advertisers are only charged when an action is taken from an ad, regardless of how many impressions are served/viewed • 5% spent vs. Mobile which is primarily bought on either a CPV or CPD (cost per download when promoting apps) basis. Moreover, only one ad – which is in view - displays on the majority of mobile devices. • 3% spent vs. Sponsorships in which all available ad units are owned by an advertiser As such, the viewable impression metric is most relevant for display banners (20% of online media spend) – for which we already negotiate above the fold positioning (to improve ad visibility) and high SOV (to guarantee ownership of the page). However, while Insertion Orders and ad verification software (and many of the other protective measures referenced above we take) ensure that publishers provide us with optimal positioning, a viewable impression metric for this class of inventory would further protect our investment and allow us to report and optimize our media buys more effectively. Viewable Impressions – Measuring Value for Online Marketers Confidential & Proprietary Do not distribute without express written consent from TargetCast, Inc. All rights reserved www.targetcast.com