Make it count: a Q&A on viewability

08/01 By Dave Marquard

In our recent webinar, “Make it count: practical tips to improve your viewability” we received a lot of great questions about the different aspects of media quality. (If you missed it, you can access the recording here.) In this blog post, we’re answering your viewability questions.

How have viewability metrics changed since the deprecation of Flash. What measurement challenges does IAS encounter with not using Flash?

The technology behind the scenes has changed, but it doesn’t impact measurement and measured rates – especially since the change had been a long time coming. In fact, we saw that measurement using Flash was not consistent on mobile, so it’s conceivable that measured rates may be higher now.

If viewability is essentially a measure of user behavior, how can you guarantee 100% viewability?

Viewability is not a measure of user behavior – it is a measure of whether an ad had the opportunity to be seen by a real person. When someone (a buyer) asks for 100% viewability, what they’re saying is that they want to only pay for viewable impressions. There are several tactics to help drive up viewability rates and you can find out more in our viewability byline.

Do you predict that ads will start to be put up for auction as they come into view, rather than when the page loads?

Some ad networks do this today to varying levels of success — just because an ad was in view for one second doesn’t mean it’ll be in view for two seconds. The bigger move we’re seeing is that buyers are now using viewability optimization technologies in programmatic. These technologies allow publishers to maximize the yield on their inventory, reduce impression waste, and streamline workflow.

Improvement in viewability in programmatic could be driven by publishers buying in less external inventory. What are other reasons?

Publishers are overall, working to improve their viewability across their properties, which in turn has an impact on all buying channels, including programmatic. Publishers are leveraging viewability data to change page layouts and ad placements. Additionally, greater insights into user engagement has enabled more informed reconfiguration of pages and placements. Furthermore, new publisher optimization tools are helping publishers to automate ad delivery and more easily achieve advertiser KPIs even when custom standards are applied.

Does your publisher optimization tool allow a publisher to optimize to 100% in-view inventory?

Yes, it allows publishers to transact campaigns with viewability goals, whilst bringing over-buffering and wasted impressions to a minimum. You can learn more about our solution here.

Are there sophisticated bots that are able to fake viewability data on fraudulent traffic?

Yes, in fact we see that bots generally have higher viewability rates than campaigns that were only exposed to humans. That’s why you need to make sure your viewability vendor has good fraud detection. Viewability measurement should automatically exclude fraudulent impressions to ensure that you get a real picture of whether your target audiences were actually exposed to your ads. After all, non-human impressions shouldn’t count.