Ad viewability consultancy

Entropy can help you navigate the world of ad verification. We’ll develop with you the business case for ad verification through media efficiency savings and maximising media value.

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Alex Tait

Prior to launching Entropy Alex led the UK & Ireland Media & Marketing Services team at Unilever where he managed the Marketing Services team and was responsible for communications planning across their portfolio. Our team of specialists have diverse and market leading experience across sectors and markets.

What is ad viewability?

Viewability is the concept of how visible ads are on a website or mobile app to users. The Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) / Media Rating Council (MRC) will consider a viewable impression to be if at least 50% of the banner or creative is displayed on screen for more than one second. By these measurement standards nearly half of all digital display ads on a desktop device are not viewable, according to research by ComScore. This means that potentially 50% of what you have paid for might not be seen by the consumer.


Why is ad verification and viewability important?


Ad Viewability is a relatively new concept in digital advertising, but has become a hot topic since reports started to emerge showing that a significant amount of display ads were not being seen despite advertisers having paid for them. Comscore recently reported the figure at 49% in their Q2 vCE Benchmarks. In the early days of Internet advertising, ad networks reported campaigns on the basis of the number of ads served, rather than the number of ads viewed. Advertisers would calculate the relative success of a campaign by dividing the number of ads served by the number of clicks. This gave the digital advertising metric: the Click Through Ratio (CTR).


Over time, however, media agencies and advertisers have begun to question the practice of using ads served as a proxy for ads viewed. For example, why should an ad that appears below the fold at the bottom of a webpage, be counted as an impression? In addition, it became clear that other factors could contribute to an ad not being seen: users clicking away from a page before the ad loaded, or even bots or proxy servers, rather than humans, opening pages. Because of this, media agencies and advertisers are beginning to demand that publishers quantify the percentage of their ads that are actually viewed, and structure their advertising rates accordingly.


What are the commercial benefits to advertisers?


Trading against a specific set of viewability terms will help guarantee advertisers’ ads have been viewed by their required target audience to at least the IAB/ MRC’s requirements.


The IAB/MRC standards state that 50% of the creative asset area must be in view for a minimum continuous duration of 1” for (Display) & 2” for (Video). These are the minimum thresholds that an advertiser should accept when looking to adopt a viewability trading agreement with a supplier. Agreeing to these terms will offer advertisers the confidence of knowing they are getting value for their pound and that every impression that is served as “viewable” is viewed to the minimum IAB/MRC standards. Ultimately this will help advertisers achieve better reach and ROI results from their budgets.


Of course, with brand spend, if a significant amount of your brand inventory isn’t seen by a human it is also common sense that it isn’t going to be as effective at shifting brand metrics as inventory that has a higher viewability rate.


Why the industry should move to trading on Viewability


In an ideal world, you would get what you pay for, i.e., 100% Viewability. Moving to a Viewability trading model would be a start towards addressing the issues of non-human traffic, transparency and brand safety. However, this is not of paramount importance to every advertiser. Increased viewability guarantees come at a price, and the choice advertisers will need to make is whether they are prepared to pay that premium.

It is inevitable that more advertisers and media agencies will start to adopt viewability trading models in 2018. We have already seen a number of global brands such as Unilever and Proctor & Gamble take the lead in adopting viewability trading requirements. In addition GroupM recently announced new improved global viewability standards for Display and Video across both social and publisher websites. Knowing that negotiations are already in progress between the larger members of the ecosystem will only help clear the path for smaller advertisers and agencies to start adopting this way of trading as well.


ISBA’s position is that advertisers should be able to trade in the way best suited to their business model. This means the ecosystem being set up to facilitate trading on Viewability for those that want it.


The above is an excerpt from our Trading On Viewability guidelines we developed with ISBA. Download our guidelines to enable you understand how you can migrate to a viewability trading model.


In the guidelines we will also summarise:


  • Is one model suited to all advertisers?
  • Does viewability apply to direct response advertising?
  • What are the challenges in adopting this model?
  • What can’t be tracked?
  • Practical steps advertisers can take to move towards trading on Viewability
  • Considerations when you start to move towards a viewability trading model
  • What supplier should I use to track viewability?
  • What else needs to happen in the industry to enable trading on viewability?

trading on viewability guidelines

We’ve worked with the UK advertising trade body ISBA to develop a global first: guidelines to get you started with trading on viewability.


Learn more and request your free copy.

Before you contact us hear from some of our clients. We can provide more references on request.

  • "The Entropy team are a pleasure to work with, their experience and insight is always valuable and they have a great passion for the work they do." Fiona Spooner, Global Marketing Director, Financial Times

  • "GDPR is a tough subject to understand but Entropy’s full day workshop was informative and made clear what was expected of us in order to be compliant. The scenarios really helped us to apply GDPR to our own situation and business. I would recommend Entropy to any company that’s looking to gain not only a broader understanding of GDPR, but its implications for their business.” Holly Hall, Managing Director, BIMA (British Interactive Media Association)

  • “Alex Tait has been very involved with ISBA on a variety of issues at the forefront of our agenda over the years, most recently as an advisor and previously as chair our Digital Action Group and valued member of our Executive Committee.” Phil Smith, Director General, ISBA – The Voice of British Advertisers

  • “Entropy have provided very effective and hands-on support. You have been a fantastic addition to the team in the past few months and brought invaluable media expertise. It has been a pleasure working with you. A big thanks from all of us.” Emmanuelle Grimbert, Marketing Director, Danone


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