Over the years, conversations about viewability have escalated from a whisper to a roar. It’s become the buzz-iest of all buzzwords. The hottest of all topics.
It may seem like viewability popped up overnight, but the road that got us here was longer and bumpier than you might think—full of what we’re calling “OH S#!T Moments.” These moments started with a simple question (“is my ad being seen?”) that sparked an exploration of new standards and best practices to keep the advertising industry moving forward.
Lucky for us, some smart people and organizations recognized the value of quality, in-view impressions for brands. And thus, viewability was born.
In case this is the first time viewability has landed on your desk, we’ve compiled a brief (and hopefully entertaining) history of how it all started. Take a look-back at the most formative OH S#!T Moments that gave us viewability:
OH S#!T Moment #1: Wait! What about measurement?
Leading industry organizations (like the 4A’s, ANA and IAB) responded by founding the Making Measurement Make Sense (3MS) initiative in 2011. 3MS set out to revolutionize digital media measurement, planning and transaction with the goal of making it more valuable to advertisers. Out of those conversations grew a heightened concern that perhaps not all digital ads were being seen…at all!
In 2012 the IAB launched SafeFrame 1.0, a new mechanism to measure whether or not an ad was seen. The development of SafeFrame highlighted the need for industry-wide standards in viewability. 3MS jumped at the opportunity to propose the first standard for “viewable” ads—that 49.9% must be in-view for one second. Things were looking up for digital advertisers…
OH S#!T Moment #2: Madison Avenue’s worst nightmare
Suddenly, viewability became an industry-wide obsession. A number of viewability measurement vendors—including Moat, IAS, DoubleVerify and comScore—flooded the market, offering to verify in-view impressions. They even turned to the Media Ratings Council (MRC), the premier organization for measuring ads, to request audits of their methodologies.
OH S#!T Moment #3: We need standards!
This moment marked the true beginning of viewability as we currently know it. Viewability was now mainstream and most marketers placed more value on viewed impressions vs. served impressions.
OH S#!T Moment #4: Can we take this to-go?
While mobile standards solidified, savvy marketers started to demand 100% viewability (with verification). Some publishers saw this coming earlier than others…
OH S#!T Moment #5: Viewable impressions, please!
Pandora announced in June 2016 that advertisers can transact against 100% in-view impressions with measurement provided by Moat. This gave our brand partners a new level of security about the quality of their ads across desktop and mobile, display and video. Advertisers responded positively.
But while we’ve come a long way, viewability has one more OH S#!T Moment before the industry can put it to rest. Publishers still need to scale in-app measurement –and, as the IAB pointed out, the ability to scale depends solely on the industry’s adoption of a unitary viewability standard.
The current lack of consensus in the industry has created huge operational inefficiencies for publishers–as has the need for vendor-specific SDKs to enable in-app measurement. Integrating multiple SDKs within the same application impacts app performance and data transmission. For this reason many in the industry are supporting the development and use of an open-source standard SDK to streamline mobile measurement while driving transparency and scale.
Overall, one thing is clear: in today’s ever-changing digital landscape, cross collaboration will be key to creating mobile measurement solutions that work for all. To learn more about Pandora’s viewability offering and upcoming release of our new Visual Ad Experience, a suite of products that redefine the mobile impression while providing enhanced engagement metrics,CLICK HERE