Viewability. It almost sounds like a new, trendy term used by models on the catwalk in LA, New York or Paris. After all, it’s important to be seen and remembered whether by the paparazzi or adoring fashionistas.
Viewability has much the same impact in the digital advertising world. To be seen and remembered is “mission critical” for brands, publishers, marketers and media companies across the spectrum.
Of course, there’s much more to it than that. Viewability is no passing fad or fashion trend in the ad-tech ecosystem. Nor should it be.
For a number of reasons, as discussed at the recently held 3MS Forum, viewability has reached a notable inflection point in 2014 — and it’s here to stay.
The question is: are you ready for the “boom” (in this case, implementation)? If not, you’d better read on…
There are three key components to a successful viewability implementation program: first, vendor testing; second, the vendor selection process; and third, the skills needed to see the process through.
Agencies and marketers are the key drivers on the road to viewability. So it should come as no surprise that they are already at their final destination when it comes to testing. Many publishers, however, are more than a few car-lengths behind in the implementation stage.
To spur them into action, these stakeholders need to be asked a very blunt question: would they like to see for themselves how their viewability potential measures up? Or, would they rather hear about it – from their clients – after their campaigns have run full-cycle?
This is why preparing now is so important and timely. These decisions are front-and-center for everyone that wants to be ahead of the game or run in tandem with viewability moves right now.
Most critically, brands and publishers need to understand that they will never know how a particular viewability vendor actually performs until they are fully tested on the basis of your advertising inventory. There is a direct ROI impact here: paying the wrong price and getting the wrong count have the potential for an adverse, double-whammy to your marketing and advertising bottom-line.
As we outlined in our earlier whitepaper (a second version of which we have just released with some additional vendors added to our pool), stakeholders need to scan their current technology suite when considering the proper viewability vendor selection. This includes brand safety, data and analytics, dashboard capabilities and ad server frameworks – all of which play a key role in narrowing the list of vendors to a more manageable three.
Another key vetting point is a careful review of the vendors’ client roster – to consider the breadth and depth of experience they may (or may not) have working with advertisers, agencies and marketers. In short, do they have a track record of both success and resolving the kinds of issues you need in viewability? If they don’t, keep shopping…
Finally, no viewability preparation program would be complete without having the requisite skills and information in place to begin effective and efficient testing.
Viewability data will comprise an entirely new set of numbers in the already crowded life and mind of the ad operations executive, with an abundance of new metrics to consider. This includes ad server ad counts, safe frame ad counts, viewable vendor measured counts, and viewable ad percentage figures. When it comes to viewability testing and preparation, one of these data points stand on their own, and the sum of their parts is what makes for a successful go-forward program.
Don’t forget, by the way, that as you create this data paradigm, it’s critical that your advertiser numbers are aligned and reconciled with those which you generate.
During our recent 3MS panel, Jeffrey Burkett — who helps lead ad innovations and client services at Washington Post Digital — said, “However daunting this task is, it represents an exciting new opportunity for those in the ad operations community to conquer successfully, and we will.”
So grab your couture, if you will. Viewability is ready for its stride down the catwalk. But be prepared. Get yourself and your team up to speed and ready to take on this new key metric. As Project Runway‘s Tim Gunn says, “Make it work!” This is an opportunity, not an admonishment.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.