A Few Thoughts On Ad Viewability

A Few Thoughts On Ad Viewability

This week The Wall St. Journal ran an article alleging that nearly one third of online ad impressions are factitious. We wanted to share a few thoughts in response.

First, this concept is not new. In fact, uncertainty over ad impact is why the vast majority of our campaigns are designed to produce measurable outcomes. Whether it is acquiring sales, leads, donors, or fans, buying on performance based metrics has always protected advertisers from waste.

Second, from the early days of the Internet the industry has made major strides to improve the quality of digital advertising. To begin with, basic protections have been available for years. Whether you use more third party ad verification tools like DoubleVerify or AdSafe or something as simple as custom white lists, there are plenty of ways to cut fat. A new breed of tools now go a level further telling us not only when an ad appears on a computer but when, for how long, and how an ad is actually seen by a human. These advances in viewability are a giant step towards accuracy and transparency that is just beginning to shake up the industry

But none of these really ask the more important question: while it is easy to optimize direct response campaigns, how should we think about persuasion? Absent better metrics, many advertisers tout digital’s measurement capabilities but still optimize persuasion campaigns solely on impression delivery, or worse, clicks. Clicks are a potential proxy for interest but provide no information on whether a message was credibly delivered. Fortunately, these new technologies finally allow us to optimize for true engagement. Do people see our ads, for how long, do they engage with the ad units, what about after clicking through? This year, BPI is rolling out a proprietary engagement score for persuasion campaigns encompassing the full life cycle of an online engagement.

Check back soon for details or let us know if you have any questions. Not hearing about viewability from your team? Find out why.