A Viewable Feast

mn_LK“Marketer’s Note” is a regular column informing marketers about the rapidly evolving, digital marketing technology ecosystem. This week it is written by Lizzie Komar, Associate Analyst, AdExchanger Research.  

Good news traveled fast last week when Facebook decreed its position on viewability [AdExchanger story]: The company plans to sell only in-view impressions, which it can do thanks to the news feed placement of its served ads.

It will take some time, but this is a great signal of progress on the industry development and acceptance of a viewability standard. The most recent signal was when Google released a similar position a mere month ago. Google, too, is in favor of dropping the impressions-based mindset and instead measuring whether an ad was actually seen.

Progress on viewability also has positive implications in the industry’s battle against ad fraud. Fraud and viewability are intrinsically linked: While the figures are all over the page, industry data indicates that as many as 50% of served ads aren’t seen by a human audience. If we move to a system where we only buy or sell ads that are capable of being seen by a person, many fraudsters’ programmatically enabled tactics will be rendered ineffective.

Fraud deflection aside, given the likely scenario that a portion of your ads haven’t been viewable to this day, imagine what the widespread acceptance of a viewability standard will do for your marketing. First of all, your spend will translate to actual human interaction instead of bot interaction. And that could mean two things: First, and perhaps most important, if you’re measuring bottom-line conversion, you should see those numbers go up because the bots who are seeing your ads aren’t buying anything from you today. Second, you’ll get an infusion of more meaningful data about how people respond to your different messages, content and creative, which should improve all of your marketing programs over time.

Now is the time to look for opportunities to buy viewable impressions, if you haven’t already started.  Many marketers we speak with are approaching this as a pilot program in which they search for exclusively viewable impressions and compare the results to their standard campaigns.

Obviously marketers aren’t in this alone: Publishers, vendors and agencies all have skin in this game. It’s great to see companies as huge and visible as Facebook and Google helping to create a viewability standard, but don’t let them do it without you. To come up with a standard that works for everyone, make sure your voice is heard. Take your needs and concerns directly to your technology partners, publishers and industry associations.

Follow Lizzie Komar (@LizzieKomar) and AdExchanger Research (AdExchangerRsch) on Twitter. 

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