Ad industry group the Media Rating Council is to shake up online advertising in a move that should benefit online advertising agencies, advertisers, brands and consumers alike. Creative art directors and talented account managers with media jobs in reputable online advertising agencies will almost certainly approve of the new measure, which should help ensure that agencies and advertisers only pay for ads that have actually been viewed by the human eye.
Why “served” ad metrics cheat art directors
For too long, an online ad has been counted as an impression that must be paid for simply because it’s been “served”, even if it’s never actually been seen. That can happen either because it’s appeared outside the visible part of the screen or, more inexcusably, because it’s been embedded behind a pixel so that it’s impossible to view.
Art directors and account mangers alike will have been frustrated by consistent research findings suggesting that between a third and a half of online ads don’t actually get seen by anyone because of absurd “standards” that permit practices like this (perhaps anti-standards would be a more accurate term). But that’s about to change, thanks to a new announcement from the Media Rating Council, which has just lifted the advisory it had imposed back in 2012 on its metric for viewable impressions.
A big improvement
The new metric will mean that 50 percent of pixels must be continuously viewable for one second in the visible frame of the internet browser. This shifts measurement from “served” impressions to “viewable” impressions, giving marketers a more accurate means of quantifying their investment.
The move has been welcomed by ad tech firms and industry bodies. Speaking on the day of the announcement, Sherrill Mane, Senior VP of Research, Analytics and Measurement at the Interactive Advertising Bureau, said:
“Practically speaking, it means that—as of today—for brand advertising, agencies can and will expect guarantees on viewable display impressions, with video to come soon after. This means that one of the major obstacles to being included in brand allocations has finally been removed.”
The new standard looks set to bring about big improvements in online Adland, adding value for online adverting agencies, advertisers and brands.