Viewability was thrust back in the spotlight after Procter and Gamble’s declaration that all members of its media supply chain must meet the Media Ratings Council (MRC) viewability standards for digital advertising, or risk not getting paid.
P&G sparked a valid discussion around viewability standards in our industry and research from the Integral Ad Science H2 2016 media quality report found that for most advertising campaigns, although they may be in view, that the vast majority of consumers are underexposed. The report shows that 70-85% of consumers are served no more than one viewable impression and that only 50-65% of consumers are exposed to an ad for a total of five seconds or less.
These latest IAS consumer-level insights help to provide more in-depth analysis of viewability across campaigns and help to highlight an often neglected issue in our industry. If 70-85% of consumers aren’t being served more than one viewable impression, how is advertising expected to have the desired impact? Additionally, we can’t discuss viewability without highlighting the importance of advertising being free from ad fraud, to ensure those that are seeing the ads are in fact human consumers. Focusing on viewability metrics alone is not sufficient when trying to assure a transparent media supply chain.
In order for advertising campaigns to be truly successful, viewability has to be considered alongside fraud and context. There is not much value in an ad being verified as viewable, if it was in fact viewed by a bot on a page with undesirable, inappropriate content that a brand would not wish to be appearing next to.
Viewability alone is not a passport to advertising success, there are other elements that brands should consider when evaluating the performance and success of their campaigns:
Pick the right format
In a bid to keep ads viewable, many brands and publishers have focused on filling pages with multiple, attention-grabbing ads. While this might raise viewability rates on a campaign, it can also clutter up sites and diminish the user experience. Instead of striving for as many views as possible, brands should track which formats produce the greatest levels of engagement on each channel and make quality their number one priority. This will improve the user experience and achieve greater consumer engagement overall.
Centre on the creative
Putting ads in front of users is one thing, piquing their interest is another, and that’s still the job of high quality creative. If brands want to stir consumer interest, they need to spend time finding out what works: a/b testing campaigns, tweaking design and adjusting messaging to determine the ideal mix for individual consumers.
Refocus perspective on media quality
In-depth, accurate campaign reporting data that can be used to optimise performance is the holy grail for all brands. Yet, if they only measure whether ads are in-view, this goal will remain unfulfilled. To establish what produces the best results, brands also need to track exposure and frequency – the total length of time consumers are exposed to ads, and how many times they do so across multiple placements. The resulting insights can then be assessed, in conjunction with conversion data, to pinpoint the right formula for advertising effectiveness - identifying the optimum exposure time and frequency.
Whilst viewability is a key campaign performance metric, it is imperative for brands to ensure that they are considering viewability alongside fraud and context; that they are not looking at these metrics in silos. All of these media quality metrics must be combined in order for brands, and their agencies, to plan and execute successful advertising campaigns that achieve optimum consumer engagement.