To see or not to see, that is the question. In the below article, Sizmek's US Product Marketing Manager Sean Wagner, discusses how viewability provides insights into the visibility of an ad to help improve efficiency in ad planning and serving.
Andre van Assche, GM of Sizmek South Africa, reminds us that viewability is a measurement of how frequently an ad has been "seen", i.e. viewable, and truly helps advertisers gain insights into their campaign value by reporting on the number of "viewable impressions".
Please see the full article below, and let the Sizmek South Africa team know if you have any questions at
Campaign complexity is making it increasingly difficult for advertisers to honestly assess the effectiveness of campaigns. How valuable is an ad if it's not seen...or can't be seen? In order to measure true ad effectiveness advertisers want to know if the ad was also viewable.
Viewability allows for the measurement of how frequently an ad has the opportunity to be seen by a user, and not merely the number of times it's served by an ad server.
2014 global display ad spend is forecasted to surpass $50 billion (source: ZenithOptimedia, Dec 2013). However, numerous industry estimates state that roughly 50% of ads never seen... that's approximately $25 billion wasted in 2014 (Viewability defined per the IAB standard as "50% viewable for at least 1 second")... just on display advertising.
Non-viewable ads happen when a webpage contains an ad the user either cannot see, or likely won't see. This includes ads that appear far down the page, requiring the viewer to scroll down. However, page location is not the only indicator of whether an ad is viewable; even if an ad is in a "premium" site location, if a user's browser window is resized, or if a new browser tab or window is opened, the ad is no longer actively in-view. Determining ad viewability is also not just a function of how much available real estate a publisher has on a site. Other examples of non-viewable ads include instances where several ads are stacked on top of each other, with only one being truly "viewable" to the site visitor.
Advertisers and agencies should not, however, look at viewability as a standalone KPI, but rather they should use it as a tool for unlocking more effective media buying in conjunction with more common campaign performance measurement. By examining metrics like viewable CPM and viewable CPC, viewability then serves as a unit of currency within the digital advertising ecosystem.
In the world of online video, the challenge is even greater. An unfortunate number of sites feature "auto-play" videos (those which do not require a viewer to "click" to play a video). As a video impression is counted when play begins, an advertiser is charged without any confirmation of whether a viewer actually saw the ad. Worse still, these videos are often muted by default, giving the site visitor no indication of their existence.
Viewability provides added insights into ad visibility that help improve the efficacy of ad planning and serving, which increases confidence in digital advertising. Media agencies want to reduce as much campaign delivery "waste" as possible. Creative agencies want to see metrics for viewers who actually had the opportunity to see the ads they spent so much effort creating, because they will ultimately be judged on ad performance.
When viewability becomes a focal point of media planning and optimization, the results speak for themselves. Sizmek research shows that viewable impressions increase CTR by 54% and engagement rates by a factor of 2.5. This is the kind of performance an agency wants to deliver for their advertiser clients, be they brand marketers with a strong focus on reach goals, or direct response marketers more interested in conversion events.
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