TCS Media

To see or not to see, that is the question?

To see or not to see, that is the question?

Or, to put it another way, what if impressions don’t make an impression?


We are all aware of the adage attributed to Henry Ford and others, “I know at least half of my advertising budget works……..I just don’t know which half”, but Omar Oakes’s piece in MediaWeek yesterday (yes all that time ago) about ‘Online as viewability’, caused me to stop and think. Yes, unheard of in today’s 24/7 never offline, programmatical, data-mining-gathering, RTB, analytical, metrics-world.

The ephemeral nature of the way we serve and consume information, more specifically advertising messages, is a way of life now. Old Henry would be very pleased that he could track his every dollar spent on advertising and be awash with data to substantiate it – or would he?

With programmatic buying growing to something like £2.5 billion this year it seems to be the panacea to all of Henry’s concerns. The premise is that programmatic buying provides us with precision targeting, so what’s not to like? We know that we are serving up our messages to the people who want to receive them. Here’s the rub.

More and more campaigns are being optimized against the metric of viewability.

For the record, it is ‘Considered viewable’ if the ad is in view for just 1 second. So I would question the validity of such verification. Low-viewable inventory accounts for 60% of all display ad sales. Furthermore the IAB suggests 46% of banner ads are not viewable. Now this can be because of loading issues, appearing below the fold, too little area or simply an inactive tab page impression.

So, caveat emptor. Make sure you have a set of robust metrics in place, ones that filter out the possibilities of you being completely ignored, or worse not seen at all.

Simon Parker
Managing Director

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