IAB Says 100 Percent Viewability Isn’t Possible Yet, Sets 70 Percent Threshold
Citing the need for industry cooperation, the IAB says 2015 will be a transition year for viewability.
In a new paper titled “State of Viewability Transactions 2015,” the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) aims to set expectations as the industry shifts to measuring and buying display ads on a viewable-impression basis rather than by served-impressions.
First and foremost, buyers and sellers implementing viewable-impressions as measurement currency should not “expect to observe rates of 100 percent in analyses of their campaigns.”
That statement echoes that of the Media Ratings Council (MRC). The IAB calls 2015 a transition year in which agencies, publishers, marketers and ad tech firms will need to work together to implement viewability as the new currency.
“It’s time to set the record straight about what is technically and commercially feasible, in order to get ourselves on an effective road to 100 percent viewability and greater accountability for digital media,” said Randall Rothenberg, President and CEO, IAB. “The MRC said it best – 100 percent is currently unreasonable. Why? Because, different ad units, browsers, ad placements, vendors and measurement methodologies yield wildly different viewability numbers.”
Stressing the need for collaboration across the digital advertising ecosystem — and hinting at the tensions involved — Rothenberg added that resolving these differences won’t be accomplished “by holding guns to each others’ heads”.
The IAB outlined the following recommendations for marketers, agencies, and publishers to adhere to during the transition in 2015:
- All billing should continue to be based on the number of Served Impressions during a campaign and these should be separated into two categories: Measured and Non-Measured.
- Given the limitations of current technology, and the publisher observed variances in measurement of 30-40 percent, it is recommended that in this year of transition, Measured Impressions be held to a 70 percent viewability threshold.
- If a campaign does not achieve the 70 percent viewability threshold for Measured Impressions, publishers make good with additional Viewable Impressions until the threshold is met. Such a guarantee assures that all paid measurable ad impressions will be viewable at a threshold that both exceeds the minimum standard and falls within observed variances.
- All make-goods should be in the form of additional Viewable Impressions, not cash, and should be delivered in a reasonable time frame. Make-good impressions should be both Viewable and generally consistent with inventory that was purchased in the original campaign. Determination of threshold achievement is based on total campaign impressions, not by each line item. In other words, some line items may not achieve threshold, but others can compensate.
- For large format ads, defined as 242,500 pixels or over, a Viewable Impression is counted if 30 percent of the pixels of the ad are viewable for a minimum of one continuous second, as noted in the “MRC Viewable Ad Impression Measurement Guidelines.”
- All transactions between buyers and sellers should use MRC accredited vendors only.
- A buyer and a seller should agree on a single measurement vendor ahead of time. The industry aspires to variances of no more than 10% between viewability measures provided by different vendors. All stakeholders must avoid costly, labor-intensive, error-prone manual processes of reconciling different sets of viewability numbers, hence the benefits of agreeing on a single vendor.
The complete paper is available for download here.