Any brand attempting to reach out to consumers in today's increasingly competitive and fragmented media landscape must improve and re-evaluate their advertisements with a focus on brand metrics such as awareness, and ad viewability. Recently, Infectious Media published an infographic that found approximately 54% of all advertising creative goes unseen - and if customers aren't viewing your marketing media - you're unlikely to see positive results from your campaign.
There are various reasons why impressions go unseen - as just because a company places an ad, doesn't mean that people will see it. For instance:
- The viewer may click onto another page before the advertisement loads
- The advertisement may load on a place outside of the viewer's browser window
- Viewers access the page on a mobile device for which the content is not optimized
The historically low rates of viewability event in online media today is one of the many reasons why the marketing industry has been working to establish a standard metric for viewable impressions. Experts suggest that being able to optimize ad viewability could deliver as much as a 50% uplift in seen ads.
What is Ad Viewability?
Over the years, the concept of viewability has changed dramatically. Until somewhat recently, most people weren't sure what the term meant, leading to the collection of digital campaign analytics through impression-focused data that did not take into account whether anyone actually viewed the ad.
The MMMS or 3MS (Making Measurement Make Sense) coalition introduced by the American Association of Advertising Agencies, defines ad viewability as at least 50% of the pixels in an advertisement being visible on a webpage for more than one second. Of course, as the discussion about viewability continues to evolve, this standard has been rapidly evolving. While it may be a rudimentary way to discover whether or not an advertisement was properly viewed, most marketers argue that an arbitrary standard is far better than not having any standard at all.
Most people consider the one second solution provided by the media rating council (MRC), to be far overdue, as metrics based on the viewability of impressions could help to enable improved cross-media marketing buying for brands, and minimize the impact of issues such as click fraud.
The Value of Ad Viewability
The viewability guidelines suggest that the future may involve moving away from the somewhat inappropriate concepts of buying and attribution for media marketing today - based on served impressions. The truth is that anywhere up to 65% of served ads aren't seen, and it's easy to see why increased time in the view of a customer will have the greatest impact on better levels of purchase intent, brand awareness, and ad recall.
If you're not sure about how ad viewability will have an impact on your campaign performance, a recent study provided by Millward Brown Digital, Adconion Direct, and DoubleVerify may help. The research suggests that viewable impressions provide twice as much purchase intent amongst customers, and that ads in view for more than 100 seconds had four times the positive impact of those "in view" for fewer seconds. Furthermore, customers exposed to viewable impressions were more than 50% more likely to buy from the advertising brand.
While improving the effectiveness of ad campaigns, ad viewability will also have a serious impact on the future of media buying, as it will allow advertisers to understand the influence and power of each ad impression used within a campaign that reaches across numerous channels. After all, if you can't determine whether a viewer has seen an ad, you will not be able to analyze the true influence of the advertisement.
Why Care About Ad Viewability?
Any smart marketer should be constantly calculating their return on investment, and monitoring their digital marketing campaigns to check for changes in performance. If you find that your digital marketing campaign is unsuccessful, the chances are that there is more than one problem leading to the lack of success. You may discover, for instance, that your banner ads are too vague, your products are too expensive, or your verbiage is too complex. On the other hand, you might find that the primary reason you're failing to get the interaction you deserve, is that your ad is simply not receiving the right amount of viewability.
The standard set for the future of ad viewability is a good start, and as with any technological idea, the chances are it will continue to evolve and mature until we can establish an actionable and quantifiable set of metric standards for viewability. For now, the results speak for themselves, and optimizing for viewability improves branding impact time after time - lifting purchase intent by 30% or more.