Transparency in digital: a Q&A on viewability

05/08 By Dave Marquard

In our recent webinar, “Transparency in digital: how did your campaigns stack up?” 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 questions about viewability.

Are advertisers paying for impressions that don’t meet the MRC viewability standard?

As an industry, we are moving towards completely transacting on the MRC’s viewability standard; however, adoption still varies by region and from IO to IO. We typically see three different business arrangements between advertisers and publishers:

  1. They don’t transact on viewability at all, instead transacting on the traditional CPM model.
  2. There is a minimum viewability guarantee, where the IO will set a certain price for the media, but there is also a minimum viewability rate required – usually 60 to 70% viewability. If this minimum is not met, makegoods are enforced. (And those makegoods must hit the agreed-upon viewability rate.) This is currently the most common arrangement, globally.
  3. Fully transacting on viewability – where advertisers only pay for viewable impressions. This type of agreement is gaining traction in the U.S. in particular.

Finally, there are also cases in which major agency holding groups have even created their own viewability definitions that they transact on, instead of on the MRC standard. For more on the differing opinions regarding transacting on viewability, check out this infographic.

Will there be a standard way of measuring viewability across providers?

The MRC and IAB have defined specific thresholds for what constitutes a viewable impression. Vendors get MRC certification for measuring viewability. This a certification that the numbers mean all the same thing, and follow the same definitions, in the reports across vendors. If you have reports from different MRC-certified vendors, you’ll know that they are talking about the same thing.

For video viewability, when we see higher completion rates compared to low viewability, does that mean that a higher percentage let the video run, but it was not in view?

Yes, when completion rates are high, but viewability rates are low, this indicates that the video ad was played to completion out of view. In addition to these metrics, we report on the completion rate in view to provide advertisers a full view of their video campaign performance.

What about viewability and measurability? How does wrapping creatives with multiple wrappers or iframes affect measurement?

Measurability is a factor of the browser and the environment in which the ad is served. If an ad is served into a cross-domain iframe, that will reduce the likelihood that the ad is measurable. In cross-domain iframes you generally need a newer browser to be able to measure viewability.

With the right technology, browser environment, and implementation, wrapping creatives with multiple wrappers should not affect measurement.

Want to learn more about viewability? Download our guide, Viewability: the essentials.