Effectiveness: It Starts with Viewability

The problem of viewability is an important one, but it’s only a first step in delivering ad campaigns that brands find effective. Effectiveness is what brands are measuring now. As a company that’s been on the bleeding edge of this issue for two years, we were glad to see more publishers understand that their inventory had to be at least viewable to command premium pricing, and more advertisers become educated on how to make their campaigns yield better results through more than just viewability.

Once the MRC allowed advertising to be bought on the basis of viewability, the field of potential viewability auditors expanded immediately, and things got — if anything — more confusing. While we have created and tested our own formats, we have also used several viewability audit vendors. Some do not measure video, while others do not excel at mobile. Both are important for our publishers and advertisers, who want to measure effectiveness — a metric beyond just visibility. It will be a while before all this settles out.

We recently partnered with MOAT, the software analytics company, to test our mobile and video formats for both viewability and effectiveness. Effectiveness is what an ad that delivers real results possesses. Effectiveness is what advertisers want. In display this used to be called click-through-rates (CTRs), but now it has other names.

MOAT calls this “capturing attention,” because that’s what brands want to do when they advertise.  Viewability is only one part of that equation, in fact, it’s the baseline, the de minimus requirement for an ad..  Effectiveness is what brands really want from their ads. And for that, brands have to capture attention.

So big brands are measuring not only viewability, but who sees their ads, how, and in what context. Was the ad delivered in the right geography? And if it was viewable, was it viewed by a bot, or by a human? This has become another increasing concern. For advertisers, inventory isn’t space on a page, it is a set of eyeballs, a combination of good quality creative positioning combined with the right audience, and the right context.

Viewability measurement began in the display space, well before the MRC said it was a currency. But it was still necessary to test more than sheer visibility. Kellogg began running numbers on its campaigns last year. If a campaign  was at least 50% in view, what was its effectiveness? They found that if you could get up to 75% in view, you could have a 68% more effective campaign.

Video’s potential  can drive volume way in excess of display. Large CPG firms like Kellogg are very well aware of the KPI’s for their campaigns; and programmatic allows for the real-time optimization of campaigns. Now a marketer can monitor a campaign,  go in and change what’s not working.

Applying viewability for video gives you better metrics than before for the success of video ads, but it just doesn’t give you everything. You want to know more than just completion rates; you want to know whether the audio and video were still on at completion. Some domains have high completion rates, but the video isn’t visible on completion even if it’s playing. It’s called the “audible-visible” metric.