Why it’s still a work in progress in the Australian marketplace

Why it’s still a work in progress in the Australian marketplace

Published by AdNews | 5 November 2015

You’ve heard the phrase “it’s a journey”? It’s a bit new age and hackneyed – but in the case of the roll out of viewable impressions it’s very apt. I wish it were not so – and indeed IAB Australia is on the record for its support of the transition towards viewable impressions - but the reality is that there is still work to be done before we will be in a comfortable position to trade on viewable impressions in the Australian marketplace. And to get to that point it will need all of us to roll up our sleeves and get involved. 

The purpose and inherent value of viewable impressions is not in dispute. They will enable the entire marketplace, including agencies, advertisers and publishers to benefit from improved quality, accountability and effectiveness of digital advertising. Globally, the IAB has supported this drive and is focused on developing a robust digital measurement currency, effectively a “digital GRP”, to enable us to understand cross media behavior. 

In Australia we’ve collectively agreed some key points which will help us move towards trading on Viewable Impressions. These include:

Viewability is about the “opportunity to see.” It is not about engagement or ad effectiveness.

· Non-measured impressions do not equal impressions that are not viewable.

· Non-measured impressions do not equal fraudulent impressions.

· Buyer and Seller should agree on a single measurement vendor ahead of time

· If employing viewability measurement it is highly recommended that a MRC accredited vendor is used.

Yet despite these steps towards consensus there are still technological challenges, particularly around monitoring viewable impressions. Different ad units, browsers, ad placements, vendors and measurement methodologies are yielding different viewability numbers which means inventory can’t be measured accurately for our advertisers. US publishers are still observing estimated variances in measurement of 30-40 percent which likely represent the limitations of current technology. Even practical elements such as billing systems need to catch up to the changes. All in all it means it’s still not possible to fairly trade on Viewable Impressions. 

Initiatives such Project Quality from Media Brands Project Quality make a lot of sense. They acknowledge that trading is not yet viable so they aren’t placing unreasonable demands on publishers to trade on 100 percent viewability. Instead they are exploring other options such as working with publishers to optimise during campaign flight to demonstrate improved viewability. It’s a collaborative approach that involves us all rolling up our sleeves – and it’s what we’d like to see others in the industry do. 

IAB Australia will continue to work with technology vendors, publishers, agencies and markets to review developments in this area and educate the market accordingly. We’ll have lots to share in early 2016. This is going to be a very big deal for our industry. We have to get it right.

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