Less Is More

Digital publishers emphasize quality over quantity

When I gaze into my crystal ball and look into the future I see a change in online content. A change that is consistent across publishers large and small – fewer ads on web pages.

This doesn’t imply that online advertising is going to decrease; rather it reflects changes brought on by a focus on viewable impressions.

When digital media people use the word “impression”, we are referring to the delivery of an ad. A delivered ad impression may occur in content that is being viewed by the consumer or it may occur at the bottom of the page below the footer. If the consumer doesn’t scroll down that far, the ad is never viewed. This means that a digital impression is an “opportunity to see” … a throw-back to legacy media (see http://www.mediaexperts.com/blog/shermans-view-cpm-cost-per-maybe _.

Viewability is Inevitable

Current technologies (including Mediaoptimise, DoubleVerify, RealVu) allow advertisers to measure if the delivered ad impression makes it into the viewable screen area. The first step in moving to a viewable impression eco-system is defining an “in view” impression. The most widely accepted is the 3Ms definition of 50% of the ad in a viewable area for a minimum of 1 second. Using this definition, ComScore conducted its Validated Campaign Essentials Charter Study and learned that 31% of ad impressions were not served “in view”.

Advertiser Benefit

Eventually these technologies will be integrated into ad serving platforms (Doubleclick, Atlas, EyeReturn) on both the publisher and agency side. At that point, viewable impressions will become a common measure upon which media can be bought and sold. Until then, viewability data is being used in the planning process : if a property has historically delivered a high percentage of non-viewable impressions, then agencies will request a more cost effective rate or, potentially, exclude them from buys.

The end result is that advertisers will have will have a greater re-assurance that their ads have been seen.

Publisher Benefit

Over the years many publishers have been increasing ad inventory in order to increase revenue by creating more and more ad impressions below the fold and often non-viewable. However as viewable impressions become the standard publishers will benefit from doing the opposite: putting fewer ads on a page that are within the viewable area at time of page load.

Often ad placements that result in a high percentage of non-viewable impressions end up being sold as RTB inventory. We estimate that one billion of Canadian ad impressions go unsold every month. With the reduction of placements the result in a high percentage of non-viewable impressions and potentially lift the floor price of RTB inventory.

In addition, having only one or two large format ads on a page allows for improving viewability. This will help publishers maintain rates for premium placements.