Why We Need to Care About Ad Visibility

Posted by IAB Australia On June 04, 2014

Recent advancements in digital reporting technology now allow advertisers to report and optimise digital campaigns based on visibility. Simply, ad visibility is a metric that indicates how much time on average an ad placement was visible to consumers.

The technology is still in its relative early stages and the few advertisers that have jumped on-board are utilising visibility for insight on the quality and performance of a campaign. Whilst there are no current concrete global industry standards for visibility, the IAB have proposed a visibility model of 50 per cent of the ad visible for at least one second.

Note that the term ‘visible’ may be misleading. A consumer’s eyes may be focused on other areas of the webpage and not necessarily on the ad itself. Perhaps ‘exposure’ is a more accurate term.

Currently there are no ways to accurately measure the visibility of traditional media. This is the first time in media history where advertisers can measure the exposure/visibility of their ads en masse.

I’m personally excited about this trend in advertising, and am surprised at the relatively slow uptake by advertisers and agencies.

There are three reasons why advertisers should care about ad visibility:

1. Clients care about this. From SMEs to large advertisers, the focus on accountability is increasing. It would be genuinely wonderful to know the percentage of people who saw our press ad, cast their eyes on our million dollar tv ad, or bothered to glance at an outdoor billboard.

2. Measuring all digital success via direct response actions (e.g. clicks, conversions, interactions) alone doesn’t tell the full picture of a campaign. When was the last time you legitimately clicked on an ad?

Too often we see campaigns still being evaluated by clicks and CTR as a primary KPI. We need to perceive digital display advertising in the same light as other media, and measure success accordingly. For brand campaigns, advertisers should focus on digital awareness metrics such as reach and frequency, visibility, cost-per-thousand-viewed impressions (CPMV), brand-uplift.

3. Finally, the future of digital media (in fact all media), lies in reporting, analysing and optimising results based on evidence. As an industry we need to start getting accustomed to these metrics such as visibility percentage rates, CPMV, cost per view.

There are a myriad of vendors that provide ad visibility solutions at both the sell side and buy side level level. We should all push publishers at the sell side to care more about visibility.

At the media buying side, take advantage of whatever ad server’s visibility technology is available to you. Sizmek and DoubleClick provide ad visibility solutions. Sure there may be incremental costs (depending on your agency’s negotiation skills!), however the net benefit of highlighting publishers who are underperforming in ad placement far outweighs any additional charges.

You can read IAB Australia’s position on the viewable impression here.

IAB Australia

IAB Australia is the peak trade association for online advertising in Australia. As one of over 43 IAB offices globally and with a rapidly growing membership, the role of the IAB is to support sustainable and diverse investment in digital advertising across all platforms in Australia.