Dish Network’s Brad Stamulis On Viewability And Attribution, Flip Sides Of The Same Coin

Brad Stamulis will be speaking about attribution at AdExchanger’s upcoming Programmatic IO New York conference on Oct. 15-16.

The ad industry has been slow to adopt attribution modeling beyond cookies and last-touch credit for direct response campaigns.

Many marketers attribute the slow pace of innovation in advanced attribution to cost or complexity. But another reason it hasn’t worked as expected may be that viewability has been undervalued and excluded from the attribution equation, according to Brad Stamulis, Dish Network’s digital marketing director.

AdExchanger spoke with Stamulis about how marketers should factor viewability into their measurement programs.

AdExchanger: How should viewability factor into attribution reporting?

BRAD STAMULIS: If your product isn’t something you buy on the spot and the direct response strategy makes sense, then you should be relying on viewability as a metric. It was never explicitly stated to me that there’s a yin and yang where if you’re using view-through attribution and not buying on viewability, you’re incentivizing companies in the chain to essentially cookie bomb you and take credit for any ad served, like optimizing to below the fold ads that aren’t driving real eyeballs or results.

Where are we now in that process?

The tools exist – IAS, Moat and DoubleVerify, for example – and everyone recognizes that those levers are available to them. We have gotten over that hump.  

We clearly aren’t that close to the end game though where everyone understands their own marketing funnels and how to utilize viewability. Buying based on viewability should be on top of every DSP dashboard and right now it’s not.  The case now typically is specifically enabling it as a lever or an integration of some kind to incorporate viewability.

The more heavily weighted viewability is and especially if buying viewable-only, does that undercut reach and raise prices?

There is a balancing act there. And there are people who’d say optimizing to lower CPMs and higher reach makes sense, understanding that they’re going to buy lots of unviewable inventory. Personally, I don’t think it’s wise to accept so many ads you know were never seen or going to be seen, but will end up being credited with influence on conversions.

What I’d suggest is Moat, IAS and others offer prebid models that say whether an ad is likely to be viewable, and you can set your levels. I’d say be more lenient up front to get more impressions at decent rates and then closely monitor the post-bid reporting and make adjustments.

If up front you only accept highly vetted and viewable-only inventory, then you block yourself from well-priced placements that do have value. It’s not like there’s one viewability rate and that’s your baseline standard. Viewability should be one of the knobs – even the knob – that you’re constantly tuning during a campaign.

How might that work in practice?

For example, take one recent campaign we were doing to promote our NFL programming. We anecdotally felt passionate football fans tend to have better attention rates and readers stay on the page longer. So that’s a situation where we felt we could be looser with our viewability standard and expect more people to scroll down the page.

In situations like that you should test the idea, allow those results to happen and be ready to adjust.

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