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Online ad industry looks to viewability metrics
Recent research by various outfits has shown that above- and below-the-fold ad placements are becoming a thing of the past online. The industry is moving towards 'viewability' and the likelihood of if, and for how long, an ad is viewable.
Some online ads are never seen. Sometimes they appear below-the-fold and users don't scroll down the webpage far enough to see them. Other times ads above-the-fold are scrolled past before they have had a chance to load or aren't in view due to variations in browser size.
Research by AdSafe found that over 38% of all display ads, irrespective of placement on a page, were either not in view or were in view for less than the half a second the IAB deemed acceptable as an "ad view".
Furthermore, 97% of the ads not in-view for at least half a second were not in-view at all.
While above- or below-the-fold placement is important in print media, it is less important online. In fact, studies have shown that below-the-fold may be where consumer engagement is greatest and that above-the-fold placements are no longer a safe bet.
"The industry is moving away from the outdated above/below the fold standard and towards comprehensive viewability data, informing brands and agencies of the likelihood of their advertisement being in view to the user, and for how long," writes AdSafe's Jason Shaw on the company's blog.
ComScore recently released a whitepaper that makes the case for ad views/impressions to become the new way to measure ad campaign performance. Working with 12 brands including Ford, GM, Kellog's and Sprint, ComScore analyzed 18 campaigns with 2 billion impressions served collectively. Results showed that almost a third (31%) of measured impressions were not in view.
"We believe that moving the industry toward a 'validated impression' standard introduces an element of digital scarcity that helps match the value flowing to publishers and advertisers with the value being delivered by the impression," said Magid Abraham, President & CEO of comScore.
"By bringing the forces of supply-and-demand in online advertising into greater alignment, we introduce value to the ecosystem, accelerate the flow of ad dollars to digital, and foster a win-win environment for all stakeholders."
ComScore's whitepaper entitled "The Economics of Online Advertising: How Viewable and Validated Impressions Create Digital Scarcity and Affect Publisher Economics" can be downloaded here.
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