Media Quality Report: Q&A on viewability

10/05 By IAS team

During our recent webinar on the IAS Media Quality Report (MQR) H1 2017, we received many great questions about our viewability benchmarks and what they mean for the marketplace. (If you missed it, you can access the presentation on demand here.) In this blog, we’ll answer a few questions we didn’t have the opportunity to answer during the webinar.

Some agencies require 100% viewability; is it possible to ever truly reach 100% viewability?

On an industry level, ensuring that all impressions delivered are 100% viewable seems like an ambitious undertaking; however, the outlook for viewability is very positive.

Firstly, viewability provides a new media currency. Brands and agencies can request that they only pay for impressions that meet set minimum standards for viewability. On the supply side, publishers can sell viewable inventory. Formats, platforms and environments have a part to play in optimizing the % of viewable impressions within a campaign.

Through verification solutions, brands achieve transparency into their campaign viewability rates. Furthermore, they can optimize towards viewability to ensure that their campaign reaches the highest levels of viewability possible. This creates high-quality inventory for publishers and a higher potential for brands to impact consumers.

What do you attribute to the gains in viewability within programmatic? Is it the pre-bid tools that traders have recently adopted?

The first major step forward was for the industry to identify there was a viewability challenge. Marketers were paying for impressions that simply were not seen. As a result, the industry worked together to take action in order to tackle the problem.

This collaboration resulted in improved formats and an effort to establish a minimum standard for the potential to view an ad. Programmatic has been a particular challenge due to the automation factor creating a lack of transparency in terms of campaign delivery.

Measurement allows for visibility into the performance of programmatic campaigns. Furthermore, solutions such as IAS Optimization allow for brands to achieve higher viewable rates. As this adoption becomes even more widespread, we’ll see market-level viewability benchmarks continue to increase.

We’ve had issues with vendors where they say they can’t measure viewability in-app. What would your response be to those vendors who claim in-app viewability can’t be measured?

Traditionally, in-app measurement has been a challenge. However, advances in measurement technology have created solutions that continue to evolve. One solution is through MRAID (Mobile Rich Ad Interface Definitions) and the other is through SDK integrations. Both solutions have benefits and challenges.

MRAID is widely adopted and requires no complicated SDK tech integration; however, the output is binary–an ad is viewable or not–which is somewhat limiting and the percent of impressions measured can be low.

The SDK solution is dynamic and provides deeper measurement insights, greater accuracy, and increased privacy protections. However, there is a heavier tech lift required.

As brands and publishers continue to push for in-app measurement, we anticipate these capabilities will continue to advance. For example, The Open Measurement SDK is an industry-lead initiative to make SDK integrations more easily adoptable.

How do metrics that go beyond exposure such as performance-based or DR variables affect the use of the viewability standard? Does it still hold weight or should marketers consider other elements?

The MRC standard established the minimum opportunity to view an ad. It doesn’t stake a claim that any specific levels of viewability drive impact. Think of it more as an absolute baseline for exposure.

When ads aren’t viewable, there is no possibility that the units will generate the desired objective: views, engagements and, ultimately, ROI. Through monitoring and optimizing against viewability, marketers can ensure that impressions provide the opportunity to drive impact. Non-viewable impressions are simply wasted impressions.

Viewability is intrinsically linked to performance and DR objectives. Beyond that, it’s up to the marketer to establish the KPIs that best fit that particular campaign.

Download our H1 2017 Media Quality Report here.