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Media Rating Council gives green light to new online advertising viewabilty standard

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.

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