Imagine a big, important football game. Imagine the match-up takes place in a huge stadium. Like any big game, there is a lot at stake for the players, the coaches, the owners, and, of course, the fans.
Now imagine this is the first time such a game is set to play at night. All the stakeholders agree: The field needs to be properly illuminated so the game, and by extension the league, can be successful.
Now envision there's a collective decision made that allows the coaches and owners to determine the lighting -- both in terms of what parts of the field need lights and what approaches are best to do so.
The coaches and owners choose to give each player a flashlight under the rubric that the player is in the trenches -- and that personal vantage point provides the best view of the game. The field is now filled with chaotic beams of light crashing and flashing and inducing headaches and confusion among the paying fans, all of who came for a football game and got a Pink Floyd laser light show instead. From the booth, the teams' statisticians decide and post the results, based both on the viewable evidence before them and the notion that they knew what plays were being called.
It sounds ridiculous. But wait...
This is exactly what happens in today's digital video space when it comes to viewability. As an industry, we are hard at work trying to define standards around viewability (or at the very least make sure digital video ads have OTS, or the "opportunity to be seen"). The silly example above certainly gives each play the opportunity to be seen. But is this the best light available?
Advertisers, like rabid fans, take a predictably hard line, demanding 100 percent viewability when they do not stake the same claim across their television vendors. Most publishers are all over the field, where they shine their own flashlights on the parts of the field that look best, in an effort to deliver guarantees to advertisers and healthy margins to investors.
Chaos and confusion reign in any marketplace that operates in the dark. It is not the ideal way to grow a market, especially one that is poised to potentially help TV marketers reach digitally savvy consumers through expertly crafted branded video narratives (delivered via IP). Video has been, currently is, and will continue to be the most powerful advertising medium on the planet.
So who is going to switch on the stadium lights onto this dark field and shine the klieg light into every dark corner so the view of the game is clear?
VivaKi, a unit of Publicis, just did. VivaKi recently forged a partnership that will enable it to track and measure the quality and viewability of video ad placements for Publicis Groupe, which has agencies in more than 100 markets worldwide.
It is the world's biggest agencies that understand the need for stadium lights. Today's agency leaders understand that tying viewability to ad serving platforms can shine broad lights across the industry's currently dark field. Such actions inspire confidence in big brand advertisers. Publisher views can't capture the entire field, and they can't bring objectivity to the game. Furthermore, approaches that leverage existing ad serving technologies as a backbone (vs. supplemental integrations) make it easier to turn on the lights.
The industry can't afford to operate in the dark. Big brand advertisers can't be fans of what they can't see clearly. It's game day for digital video. Like today's leading agencies, let's show the fans how good this game can be.
Matt Timothy is president of Vindico, the sponsor of this article. VivaKi recently entered an agreement with Vindico to leverage Vindico's Adtricity, a comprehensive measure of quality, as its preferred verification and viewability partner.
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