Kelly Scott Madison

Addressing Viewability and Invalid Traffic

05/17/2016

 

How are digital marketers enhacing the quality of online impressions? 

Measuring and optimizing toward in-view and away from invalid ad impressions has become the standard for display and video campaigns. For those unfamiliar, “in-view” refers to online advertisements that are physically seen by a person, while “invalid” refers to unwanted traffic from non-human sources like bots, spiders and crawlers. Without looking at these metrics when analyzing and optimizing campaigns the whole picture isn’t visible to online advertisers, only pieces of it. The Media Rating Council (MRC) has been working to validate and accredit viewability and invalid traffic measurement companies. However, there are still limitations and changes within the industry that need to be made before “true” measurement is possible.

The increased emphasis on viewable impressions within the industry is encouraging publishers to make page format and cost model adjustments to improve their viewability percentages. In other words, pages are becoming shorter, ad units are moving adjacent to page content and longer ad units are being leveraged, among many other ways to increase viewability. Additionally, the way in which agencies and advertisers are paying for their impressions is evolving as many are forcing publishers to provide 100 percent viewability guarantees. Decreased impression volume and increased cost will be a result of these changes in format and pricing. This is because publishers, in order to continue generating consistent revenue, will need to inflate their costs to account for the volume of unpaid impressions delivered due to the more rigorous viewability parameters.

Above and beyond in-view percentages, additional metrics should be taken into consideration to evaluate the true impact of an impression. Is the current threshold of half an ad seen for one second truly impactful to a consumer? Examples of additional metrics to consider when evaluating performance include the amount of time the ad was in view, how often and how long users were interacting with ads, understanding if audio was enabled for video units and if the units were visible through completion. These additional metrics help advertisers to...


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