TODAY’S AGENDA How will the viewable impressions change RTB (real time bidding) display?

How will the viewable impressions change RTB (real time bidding) display?

August 1, 2015 9:42 am Published by

From the conversations with our clients RTB is definitely on the agenda. Judging from these conversations there is a lot of concern on viewable display impression and even scaremongering in the press regarding the issue. While the concern is real due to the nature of digital it’s the only media where with this level of granularity. Similarly large proportion of other advertising whether in Press, TV or other media channels is non-viewed but due to lack of tracking the % of it can only be guessed.

In other words while the unique nature of digital media has uncovered the issue of viewability it’ll also be the key in tackling the issue. So as an industry rather than putting our heads in the sand the industry we are tackling the issue in multiple fronts.

Website designs are starting to improve to accommodate the change in consumer behaviour and with mobile being the primary device the stats around viewability are improving. Another aspect impacting viewability are the new ad-formats that are coming into the market at scale. Propositions like places the ads (video and rich media) literally in the heart of the premium online content make it easier to reach people with 100% viewable ads.

One of the most recent topics being discussed is viewability and trading on viewable inventory. According to Google ( as much as 56.1% of display inventory is non-viewable. While the figures above are high the average, often times the non-viewable impressions are served by few media owners.

So what is viewable impression then? Well according to IAB standards ‘50 per cent of pixels must be in the viewable portion of an internet browser for a minimum of one continuous second to qualify as a viewable display impression for a standard display ad. For Rising Stars/large canvas ad formats (at or in excess of 242,500 pixels, equivalent to the size of a 970 x 250 pixel display ad), given their substantial size, the guidelines state that 30 per cent of pixels must be in the view for a minimum of one continuous second to qualify as viewable. Standards, for video, mobile and tablet have not yet been determined, but are expected later in 2014 and beyond respectively.’

There’s a lot of discussion in the industry on whether advertiser should trade on viewable inventory only and have that as part of the requirements for display planning. While it is important to understand, monitor and push the viewability rates in display as with all display it is the impact on business performance that is the final determinant of success.

From advertiser POV it’s important to understand what is meant when talking about ‘viewable’ inventory as having seen an ad for a second is hardly enough to recognise by who it is from not to mention the messaging, offer and CTA (call to action). Therefore while viewable inventory is important tying the display activity to performance metrics through i.e. convolution or regression modelling gives better view on how the campaign contributes to the overall business performance and by definition the above methodologies will consider all aspects of the activity as if the activity is non-viewable it’s likely to have little impact on business performance and hence will not be a factor in the model.


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//by Jenna Aarons