Media agency network GroupM has announced from the first quarter of this year it will trade on viewability across a number of Aussie publishers.
To have an ad that’s viewable means it’s been seen by a human, not a bot or something else. At the moment, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) deems an ad viewable if 50 per cent of the pixels of an ad is in view on the screen for at least one second. If it’s a video ad, it’s a two second minimum for it to be viewable.
The announcement todays sees GroupM guarantee 100 per cent viewability within certain ad placements for publishers, a standard that other agencies are striving for. When asked what key placements the network was able to guarantee 100 per cent viewability on, John Miskelly, chief digital officer, told B&T it’s dependent on the publisher, but they’ve come up with areas that will be traded on 100 per cent.
The publishers that have agreed to the standard include ninemsn, Fairfax Media, The Guardian, News Digital, Yahoo, Mamamia, MCN, Inmobi and Carsguide.
Alice Manners, CEO of the IAB Australia, said that while the announcement was great, it doesn’t take into account “local market nuances”.
“IAB’s response to viewability is to address the entire industry – and at the moment there are technological constraints which means that trading on viewability isn’t ideal,” she told B&T. “If you look at the IAB in the US, they describe 2015 as the ‘year of transition’. That’s where the Australian market is kind of at.
“We’re all completely behind viewability, but where we’re at currently in Australia we all need to get involved to tackle that.”
The announcement from GroupM today sees the network partner with analytical company Moat – a company that is accredited by the Media Rating Council to correctly measure the viewability of an ad. Moat was also the first company to be mobile accredited in the States, with Miskelly saying GroupM over here will trade on viewability on mobile devices. Currently, the IAB in Australia is only working from a desktop perspective.
“Rightfully, confidence in digital advertising has been knocked over the last year due to issues such as brand safety, ad fraud and viewability,” said Miskelly in a statement.
“GroupM’s goal is to ensure the absolute best digital advertising for our agencies’ clients. We took this position above the industry standard both to achieve that goal and to help restore faith in the medium.
“Locally, we have been analysing around 2.5 billion lines of viewability data a month for the last 1.5 years and have been working with key publishers to share insights into their performance as well as with our global team to get to this standard.”
GroupM’s director of technical operations, Timothy Whitfield, added: “It’s important to work with a trusted partner for verification of viewability and we have this in Moat who provides these services globally. Their vision and capabilities for enhancing brand safety, ensuring viewability and reducing, ad-fraud aligns with GroupM’s goals.
“They have a direct integration with Facebook, YouTube & Twitter and are the first vendor to be MRC accredited for mobile viewability. We are deploying their technology at scale in Q1 2016 and directly integrating their solution with our internal systems at GroupM. This will allow us to have an unparalleled overview of brand safety, ad-fraud and viewability for all clients. This deep insight into the data will give or clients, yet another, unfair advantage to further boost the performance of all their campaigns.”
GroupM isn’t the only network to push for viewable trading. Late 2015 saw IPG Mediabrands’ agency Magna Global dive headlong into tackling viewability, promising to try and get as close to 100 per cent viewability as possible for its clients.
The initiative is called Project Quality, and gives clients access to a report that details the current levels of viewability, site quality and delivery of measurable impressions.
Some agencies are pushing forward on viewability, however the IAB isn’t quite there yet. So should agencies wait for the IAB or surge ahead?
Manners said it’s all about transparency with clients about the state of the Australian market.
“And having very clear guidelines as to how they’re using these metrics and what they’re measuring and ensuring there is that transparency with the marketer on that and understanding it is bigger than one agency group,” she said.
“Our role as the IAB is to assist the industry on standards and guidelines and there is work that still needs to be done in the area of viewability.”