The viewability issue: What marketers are really measuring

In the second part of a two-part feature on the issues surrounding viewability, Marketing dives into how brands should also look at viewability as a bigger part of the story, rather than using it as a main or sole metric for campaigns.

Measuring against the market

With so few viewability metrics available, one might wonder if marketers and media agencies find it challenging to effectively determine the success of their campaigns compared with other competitors.

The first step to creating a unified measurement metric is to have a unified way on the counting methodology of a viewable impression, says Olivier Le Sayec, head of supply at Blis. A standardised way of placing the tracking pixel onto the web page or app is required. Tracking pixels, also known as tags or beacons, are embedded in campaign assets such as ads, websites and emails, allowing companies to track the activity of consumers. In this case, companies can use the tracking pixel to monitor the viewability percentage of the ad.

“From experience, I have seen dramatic differences in viewability percentage from different vendors on the exact same publisher because one of the pixels was placed on the bottom of the page,” he said. He added the biggest challenge is the lack of knowledge or understanding among clients on how to effectively measure viewability. This is made more challenging by increasing technological complexity, which prevents clients from getting an accurate indication of their ROI.

Despite the challenges behind the lack of a unified viewability measurement metric, Niall Hogan, managing director for Southeast Asia at IAS, said: “It does not matter if each advertiser has a different viewability standard because the purpose of the data is not to compare themselves to competitors.”

Instead, he said companies are using it to compare their campaign performance against themselves in order to improve. “It’s more about focusing on your own campaign and your own information and trying to make improvements and efficiencies in your own campaign,” he said. He noted there was slight progress on the mobile front in terms of having a unified measurement.

Last year, IAB Technology Laboratory (IAB Tech Lab) launched the Open Measurement Software Development Kit (OM SDK), supporting independent third-party measurement from multiple sources with a single SDK integration. The open measurement SDK also standardises the measurement of viewability and is able to offer more transparency to buyers through consistent and accurate measurement.

This new initiative will offer participating measurement vendors access to the data required to support their verification and analytics needs. “I think about 80% to 90% of Asian publishers will have this SDK by the end of 2018, which means that advertisers and agencies will be able to work with their adtech vendor of choice, and still obtain the same mobile app viewability measurement from each of them,” Hogan said.

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