How much do you really know about viewability? In an interactive game-show style session at the iMedia Breakthrough Summit in Austin, Texas, Denise Zaraya, VP of agency development Integral Ad Science, let the audience know just that. The focus at Integral is achieving the highest media quality for buyers and sellers.
But when referring to the media quality of ad impressions, what are we talking about? Ads that are surrounded by quality content? Viewable ads? Ads that are served to real people? Ads that are served to the right people?
In fact, all of these impact media quality. Ads must be brand-safe (never surrounded by risky content), fraud-free (reach real people), and geo-compliant (in the right market), in addition to being viewable -- which, in its simplest form, means that the placements have the opportunity to be seen, and ultimately influence, those real people.
Viewability itself has become a currency at major agencies, and this trend is only going to get stronger. According to Zaraya, 52 percent of Integral's customers said that they have bought or sold media based on viewability. The rules are set at the holding company level and then trickle down, explained Zaraya.
One of Integral's main focuses is battling ad fraud. Zaraya said that, on average, 11 percent of a campaign's budget could be wasted on fraud. This may not seem like a lot, but if you're spending $1 million, $100,000 of that is being wasted on fraudulent advertising. Integral strips all fraudulent views from viewability measurement. If the ad wasn't viewable to a human, it simply wasn't in view. Examples of fraud include ad-stacking, pixel-stuffing, and, most prevalent, illegal botnet schemes.
The MRC has been setting media quality standards and vendor accreditations. Choosing a vendor for a service that can be MRC-accredited is important, but it is also critical to understand what that accreditation really means. Despite what some may think, being MRC-accredited doesn't mean that the MRC thinks you have premium technology, or that your tech has been audited against your competitors. It simply means that the MRC has verified that what you claim your technology does is, in fact, what it does. So choosing a vendor still requires you to do some additional homework to ensure you're picking the right one.
Zaraya then introduced video and programmatic with the following question: On average, out of 100 videos purchased programmatically, how many are viewable under MRC guidelines? Integral has discovered that the answer is 37 percent of videos. The current standard defines a video ad as in-view if at least 50 percent of the player is viewable while the ad is playing for at least two consecutive seconds.
Continuing on the programmatic theme, Zaraya posed another question: Which gets you higher quality media in programmatic: pre-bid targeting, using blacklists/whitelists, or are both equally effective? This question is a bit tricky, since most people usually have a method that they're married to, such as whitelists or blacklists. But what Integral has seen is that across an entire domain, you can have both good and bad impressions. The whole site isn't necessarily a bad place to advertise. Particularly with fraud, a premium publisher can have instances of fraud on pages when illegal bots are crawling for valuable cookies. Why penalize the publisher? It's better to apply data science for targeting rather than blacklists/whitelists, which can wipe out scale and inadvertently, a potentially valuable partner.
With Integral's pre-bid targeting, you can go into most major DSPs and, as you're building your segment, apply Integral media quality parameters. And then it happens automatically. So you won't bid on inventory that is predicted to not meet your set standards.
Finally, Zaraya touched on an issue that has created major inefficiencies for media buyers and sellers -- viewability reporting discrepancies. What causes these inconsistencies between media buyers and sellers? All of the following are correct:
- They are using two different vendors
- They are using two different viewability standards
- And, most importantly: They start counting viewability at different points
Integral is working to measure and forecast viewability, discrepancy-free. It's not just the agency's number -- Integral's analysis is based on input derived from tech that sits on both the agency and the publisher side, creating a single fair viewability measurement that both parties can use.
Integral's discrepancy-free measurement was officially launched this week across all viewability solutions. Unique to the market, it aims to reduce friction and increase fluidity with regard to measuring and transacting on viewable media.