A View on Viewability: Tips to Increase Media Performance

As viewability has become one of the newest transactional metrics in the industry, the IAB recently released a Viewability Primer for Publishers to help the collective understand how to manage their sites, content and inventory to improve metrics. While the primer was crafted with publishers in mind, several of the concepts can be applied by agencies and advertisers to improve a campaign’s overall viewability performance.

Pre-Work is Necessary Before Purchasing Placements

While this may seem like an obvious statement, reviewing a website’s placements is an essential piece of the request for proposal puzzle. While a publisher may have offered an above the scroll placement at a premium price, boasting its inevitable highly viewable delivery, the content visitors focus on may be slightly below the scroll rendering the premium priced placement less likely to have the opportunity for viewability.

Additional aspects such as how a website loads content and latency can have ramifications to metric performance. Websites that only load as the page is scrolled through vs. pages that load completely at once have different effects. With pages that load as a site is scrolled through, the opportunity for an impression to be viewable is seemingly more present and minimizes impressions served without any pixels gracing the visitor’s screen. However, if there are latency issues, the degree to which all of the pixels load on screen may not be at the volume and duration deemed viewable to the agreed upon standards. Oppositely, sites that completely load may have placements at the bottom of a page where users never scroll to, interpreting the unit as non-viewable.

When selecting placements, due-diligence in evaluating websites to understand the opportunity for impressions to be viewed can have positive implications when activated.  

All Creative is Not Created Equally

HTML5, Flash, K-Size, it all matters! Depending on the weight and creative type, an extended load time duration can cause a viewable placement to miss an opportunity if the placement is scrolled away from prior to the creative loading. The more weight for a creative unit, the more time it may take to load.

Additionally, when other factors are associated with a heavy file size, such as real time bidding or data application, the load time becomes lengthier, further reducing the viewability chance. Understanding where and how the creative is being served can help dictate the creative type and size that should be used. A smaller size may be less flashy, but flashy doesn’t matter when an impression doesn’t have the opportunity to be seen.

Technology can be a Publisher and Advertiser’s Partner with Communication

AdTech is a booming industry with advertising verification at the heart of its growth. Each AdTech vendor offers something a little different: glamorous dashboard, competitive rate, unique data collection ability, etc. As soon as their Media Ratings Council (MRC) accreditation comes through, these vendors are chomping at the bit to be used as the “best” viewability vendor for a brand’s needs.

While these vendors are anxious to be trusted and loyal partners of brands, publishers have less of a thrill managing the latest and greatest. It’s important to note that neither AdTech vendors nor publishers are the enemy in viewability monitoring. Publishers often use certification processes to understand how a vendor’s technology is implemented and data collected to become comfortable with a vendor prior to allowing it access to the site via tagging. 

When RFP-ing the marketplace, ensure publishers understand which viewability partner will be used to track impression delivery.  In doing this, should the AdTech vendor be new to the publisher, the proper certification and education can take place prior to campaign launch when issues may arise. If using the viewability metrics for transactional purposes and not simply analytics/optimization based reasoning, it is imperative to be transparent about which vendor is being implemented as delivery varies by partner due to collection processes. 

Holding Everyone Accountable to Standards

With placements, creative and technology in place, the final step in viewability is to measure and monitor, holding publishers and agencies accountable for campaign performance. By sharing reports with publishers, they are able to monitor their own metrics and optimize placements accordingly. This best practice of sharing analytics reports encourages partnership between all involved parties and can result in a more positive viewability delivery.

Aside from publishers optimizing, agencies also should be evaluating and comparing placement and partner metrics to shift budgets in a cost-effective manner producing cost efficient and highly viewable campaigns. Agency communication with publishers letting them know how each placement measures up to standards, averages and goals, allows for minimal surprise when budgets are shifted and may reduce the need to have grandiose shifts.

Ebiquity’s Glimpse with Spectacles

Minding these tips can not only increase viewability chances, but also spark better communication between all involved parties creating smoother processes in verification monitoring.


To learn more around viewability, specifically within the video landscape, be sure to watch our Partner Series Webinar: Measuring Video Analytics through the Lens of Viewability




By Laurie Shinbaum
About the Author:

Laurie Shinbaum is Digital Account Manager at Ebiquity, plc

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