Nigel Gwilliam is IPA Consultant Head of Digital. At the AOP Conference on 3 October he will be moderating a panel on viewability, and here he discusses the key issues around viewability for publishers.
The first issue is that we need to move towards agreement on what we mean by viewability. The principle is very straightforward, but the reality is much more complicated.
Viewability is also by nature an international concept, in contrast to something like brand safety, where we in the UK take a much stricter approach than they do in the US, for example. So we need to be looking at the work being done in the US, which is leading the way in this are at the moment, because ultimately we’re going to need an international definition of viewability.
Then we need to understand the nuances of viewability across different types of advertising and we need to look at calibrating industry norms across a complex market.
And we have to agree what are achievable levels of viewability. That seems like a contradiction of the basic idea of viewability, so we need to explain to non-digital people why there’s a need for this kind of pragmatic approach, rather than the assumption that we’re talking about 100% viewability.
Is there a need for standards around viewability?
There is, and they’re starting to emerge out of the US. It’s not a question of whether we need standards, it’s a question of what they’re going to be. Beyond that we need to work out how we’re going to apply those standards. The providers of viewability will deliver figures in different ways, so there needs to be transparency around what those all mean.
What does the viewability debate mean for publishers?
Publishers have not found the digital world easy to navigate, but this is a very positive area. Research into average viewability of advertising shows higher levels around quality content than for advertising acquired by other means.
What’s the future of viewability?
In the US there’s talk about using viewable impressions as the basis for better attribution modelling and campaign measurement, at first in digital and eventually cross-media.