What counts as an ad view? Is it when the ad is technically served, or when the ad is actually able to be seen by a human visitor?
No one can definitively answer that question because there’s no standard in the display advertising industry for what counts as “viewability” — which is a problem Neal Mohan, Google’s VP of Display and Video Advertising Products, says needs to be fixed.
According to the MRC standard definition of viewability, a ‘viewable ad’ is one that has been rendered on a screen for a person to view.
This kind of viewability should be adopted as a currency by the display advertising industry, Mohan says, citing statistics as proof of the business impact to buying based on viewable impressions.
In tests conducted this month, advertisers saw the following improvements when measuring ads using Google’s Active View Technology:
“… viewable ads saw conversion rates improve by as much as 50%. These viewable ads, with a minimum of 50% in view for a minimum of one second, drove a brand lift of 10.3% while non-viewable ads didn’t contribute to lift at all.”
While the Google is doing its part, more could be done by the industry as a whole, Mohan contends. Specifically, he suggests the industry take these major steps:
- Focus on counting viewable impressions: Mohan believes the industry should adopt 100% viewability, which means buying and selling only viewable impressions.
- Adopt a single standard for viewability: Mohan suggests the way to move forward is to adopt the MRC standard definition of viewability (linked to above).
- Resolve discrepancies in measurement: The way to do this, Mohan suggests, is to integrate measurement technology directly into ad serving, with viewability data being included amongst other campaign metrics.
Mohan admits viewability is still in its infancy, with things like viewability on mobile still to be considered as smartphone browsing becomes more prevalent. However, setting a standard for viewability is first step towards being able to tackle any of the greater issues.