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Do Advertisers Even Care About Viewable Ad Impressions? Not Yet

3 Jan

Finally advertisers are recognizing that a high percentage of their online ads are not being seen by consumers. So of course they will demand that all impressions will need to be 100% viewable, or will they?

In August of last year adweek reported on an adsafe study that was done around viewable impressions. Most of you have read or heard of this study, but in it they said a few things.

– 51.1% of all ads are never seen in the entirety on the screen
– 58.8% of all ads running on ad networks are never seen in entirety on the screen
– 59.7 for the same numbers when buying through exchanges

Using the same requirements above and then adding an in-view window of :15 seconds the stats go to as follows:

– 78.9% of ads never seen across all publishers
– 83% of ads never seen on networks and exchanges

This explains why you see reports of online video growing at 50% for the coming year, and the CPM’s are justified.

In the past 2 months we’ve been talking to numerous advertisers about plans for 2013 and working to create marketing solutions for those advertisers. A handful of these marketers told us they were buying mostly ad networks and exchanges. This came as no surprise based on the research I had done on moat.com

As we were talking through some of the marketing challenges we discussed eCPM’s and as I expected our solution was a little more than double the eCPM’s they were paying with ad networks and exchanges. So our solution is unique in the fact that we have 100% viewable impressions and our ads run close to :15 seconds in rotation. We aren’t the only company out there guaranteeing viewable impressions, USAToday.com announced this last year.

So as I explained that our eCPM, with 100% viewable impressions, actually delivered a more effective advertising program, I received a few comments that were concerning. One comment made reflected the thought that it must be everyone else running on ad networks not being seen because our ads are always seen. Later that week I did see this advertiser’s ad, and it was on the bottom of a publishers homepage, and no I did not send a screenshot to them. Apparently only the other advertisers on the ad networks and exchanges are not being seen. The other answer was even a more disturbing was that this advertiser need to keep their CPM’s at these levels regardless of viewability.

One of these advertisers does last view and last click attribution, which means you have platforms where people are never seeing an ad, and taking action, and these ad networks are getting credit.

As I sat back and thought about these responses a couple things come to mind
– How many of these people were able to move up the corporate ladder by driving price down and delivering perceived value
– Do they fully understand the impact on marketing in regards to viewability
– Should I just dump a ton of ads that are unviewable to drive down my eCPM (Would never do this, not fair to our partners)

I realize 2 advertisers is not a strong sample size, and I hope they are the exception to the rule, but it got me thinking what will advertisers do if CPM’s spike based on viewability. Are they going to demand the same rates? Maybe they can demand the same rates based on the amount of impressions available.

I do believe banner commoditization has occurred, and you must have unique differentiation to have any chance of selling banners at a premium. Our company continues to move to more native experiences but banners have shown to play a role in effecting consumer behavior.

The first chapter is being written on ad viewability and I look forward to seeing where the story ends. I selfishly hope that all publishers are forced to have 100% viewable impressions from advertisers because this can only help marketers at the same time rewarding companies like ours who are doing right by advertisers.