You've increased your viewability rates by applying pre-bid targeting for viewability and by blocking ad fraud. Congrats! Your digital ad spend will already be more effective. However, even a campaign with excellent viewability can be compromised by problems, such as unsavory images, cluttered ad slots, and unprofessional content. To run the most effective campaigns, advertisers need to think beyond viewability and address these issues as well.
Is the page safe for your brand?
Imagine this: Winter is coming to a close and you are planning your summer collection campaign. You rest easy at night knowing the campaign parameters you indicated ensure prominent quality placement, such as Vogue, for a luxury swimwear line. The viewability rates are excellent. There's one major problem -- the ads end up running alongside an article called "Don't be a prune: sun, skin, and wrinkles." Will this inspire the reader to buy a bikini? Probably not.
Surrounding context matters. If it is misaligned to your brand image, then both the campaign and brand can suffer. As publishers expand the scope of their content, the chance of unsafe context also increases. The risk is even higher when buying impressions on exchanges and networks, where an estimated 13.7 percent of placements could be adjacent to brand damaging context, such as adult themes, hate speech, alcohol, bad language, or illegal downloads.
Ensuring a brand-safe environment for ads requires a nuanced approach. An environment that is unsafe for one brand might be ideal for another. A wholesome baby formula brand will not want its ads on a page about craft beer, but a retailer that sells plaid shirts certainly will!
Ads, ads everywhere
An ad can be viewable, but how effective is it if surrounded by a dozen others? A website crammed with too much advertising can damage both the user's experience and the ad's utility.
We've all done it -- browsing your favorite news site, you scroll to the bottom and see a link to "Top 10 celebrity fashion disasters." Cautiously, you look over your shoulder -- no one is around -- and you click. Who doesn't love a bit of schadenfreude? The problem is, the page is so packed with ads that the browser slows to a crawl, you get bored, and there are too many ads for one to stand out. That slideshow of clothing catastrophe is not worth it. After a few seconds -- long enough for ads to be registered as viewable -- you close the window.
The ad is fraud free. It's technically viewable. And so are those 12 others for the two seconds the page was open. But too many ads, a cumbersome page -- that's not an effective placement for the advertiser.
Location, location, (pretty) location
Whether the real estate is brick-and-mortar or digital, good location is critical. In digital advertising, not all placements are created equal. To ensure campaigns are most effective, advertisers should monitor placement in addition to viewability. A video ad that plays in a side banner is less noticeable than one that appears front and center.
However, a good placement also depends on the page design. An ugly page might be less effective, especially when advertising is inelegant. For most brands, a premier placement on a poor quality page could potentially damage the brand image -- guilty by association.
It's more than meets the eye
The recent focus on viewability and bot-fraud is helping raise awareness to ensure digital advertising dollars are not wasted. However, it takes more than viewability to make an impact on consumers. Advertisers must consider all elements of media quality when planning a campaign. With all the work that goes into the creative process and selecting the right audience, ensuring the ads run on quality media is vital to a successful campaign.
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