In April, America’s Media Rating Council (MRC) finally took the step of lifting its advisory on viewable impressions for display advertising. A milestone decision allowing advertisers to begin buying viewable impressions with certainty for the first time.
So what? What does this decision by our American cousins matter to us? Surely the acceptance of viewable impressions as a standard metric of measurement is purely academic and won’t have any real bearing on how we buy and trade digital media in Australia?
Not so. We should all be standing up and taking notice. In theory viewability could be the biggest seismic shift in digital advertising for a long time. Even if our local industry bodies fail to sit up and take notice.
Recent studies have shown that between 31-65% of online advertising is never actually seen! Just stop to think about that for a minute. Traditional media has always been propped up by John Wanamaker’s adage that, ‘50% of advertising is wasted, we just don’t know which 50%’. But digital media with its high trackability and monitoring was supposed to be different.
So what’s happening? Well the most common culprit is ads that appear below the ‘fold of the screen’, but there may be many that time out before they are properly displayed and more still that never have a chance to be fully loaded before the reader navigates to another area of a page.
The MRC guidelines state that 50% of pixels must be viewable in the browser for one second to qualify as a viewable display impression. That doesn’t sound like too much to ask, does it?
However for media owners and agencies, served rather than viewed advertising has long been a point of contention, and this is simply fuelled by the significant investment in time and effort to implement ad viewability standards.
I genuinely believe a blinkered approach to viewable impressions is detrimental to the credibility of our whole industry. Media fragmentation is a real thing, and as an industry we need to be much more self-regulating and customer-centric to safeguard success.
But it’s not just about ethics; true viewability actually drives proven conversion results. A recent study Adconion carried out with Millward Brown found that verified viewable impressions have twice the impact of influencing purchase.
At Adconion we have been providing viewable solutions to our clients for over a year now, and I’m personally surprised the Australian market has taken so long to catch-up. As MRC CEO George Ivie recently said: “This shift will ultimately benefit the entire advertising ecosystem.”
Viewable impressions are the future of the industry; think about this as our digital watershed moment. If you are not thinking about the impact this could have on your business now, you are almost certainly going to be left behind.