AdNews: Publishers face major shift in ad measurement as viewability rolls out

Published in AdNews, 24 January, 2014

The way industry measures ads served digitally is set for major change in 2014 with the shift to viewability. This means advertisers will be able to pay for ads that people have actually seen, not ads served on a page where they may not be. Alice Manners, head of the IAB in Australia, told AdNews it was one of the biggest challenges facing publishers in 2014.

Viewability is already being trialled in the US. What it means is that online display ads are counted as 'viewed' if they have been on screen for at least 1 second and were at least 50% loaded. Video ads are likely to be counted as 'viewed' if they played for two seconds, although it remains unclear whether that is two seconds continuous play.

As a standard, it is likely to roll out in Australia in the second quarter. Media agencies are keen for its arrival, as it means they will be able to reduce wastage by only paying for ads people have seen – and not those that they haven't. That creates a challenge for publishers because it changes the way their sold inventory is measured.

Manners said that meant publishers had to be ready, and that was top of the IAB's agenda.

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