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Does the ad tech industry need to refocus on viewability

So what use is a viewableAd if it isnt engaged with Perhaps the industry needs to re-align its focus on viewability.

With the rise of bots and ad-fraud becomingA more prominent challenge, the general consensus is that viewability goals alone arent enough. Many would agree that engagement is the most important goal for advertisers, particularly in an ad-blocking world.

Should the industry thus be investing so much timeAnd money on viewability when ultimately, conversions are everyones end goal

The introduction of viewability does come fromA place of good intent. After all, advertisers need to be able to show the reach of their campaigns. However, it seems counterintuitive to spend so much time to make sure an ad is viewable to a consumer if we know that the impression won’t convert. The industryneeds to look beyond ads that are viewable, but are engaging as well.

The number of differing viewability standardscan also increase the challenge for advertisers and publishers as the landscape becomes more confusing and muddled. Is 50 per cent of an ads pixels in view for one second long enough for the user to actually engage with the ad For this reason, I believe the industryneeds to make a shift from viewability to refocus more on engagement.

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A recent study by Exponential, in partnership with research firm EyeSee, was carried out to test the level of engagement of our Video Driven rich media ad formats (VDX) against standard pre-roll ad formats. Using a panel of 500 internet users and combinationof eye-tracking, facial coding and survey questions, the study found that VDX units held customer attention for twice as long. They also produced higher ad recall, intent to purchase rates and boosted brand perception. In addition, 40 per cent of those interacting with the ad did so for more than 60 seconds.

So what would an industry more focused on engagementmean for publishers and trading desks

It would simply mean theyd have to be able to access and leverage sufficient data to effectively perform against an engagement goal. Demographic targeting and buying frequency isnt enough to deliver what the industryneeds. Audience-based targeting of users “in-market” can provide a much more prosperous approach that allows trading desks and publishers to charge on a “cost per engagement” metric.

Viewability will continue to be a prominent subject in the ad tech industry and with time there will be further developmentsto improve its measurability. However, in its current state being able to track whether engagement occurred on a viewable impression is still a significant hurdle. There are many ways to engage with customers beyond making something visible. Perhaps it istime for the industry to shift its focus from viewability to engagement because ultimately, if a user actively engaged with an ad, then it must have been viewable.

Jason Trout is UK managing director of Exponential.

Meanwhile, from social media advertising through to paid-for search ads, digital advertising is evolving to empower businesses to tell stories in more relevant ways.

Image: Shutterstock



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