Brands to Publishers: Let Us Check Your Viewability Rates or We’ll Stop Buying Ads
Earlier this month Google announced that video ads running on YouTube have a chance to be seen 91% of the time. That’s great, and a lot better than the 46% of video ads that Google runs outside of YouTube that never have a chance to be seen. But advertisers would like to be able to check Google’s and every other publisher’s math.
Deep-pocketed brands such as Kellogg are pulling back budgets from major publishers, including Google-owned YouTube and Facebook, that won’t let brands bring in third-party viewability companies to verify how many people may have actually seen their ads.
Ad viewability has become a chief concern for many marketers as they realize that many of the ads they’re buying online never even had a chance to be seen. In December 2014 Google said that 56% of the web’s banner ads are never seen. Evidence like that has led companies like GroupM and Unilever to demand that publishers only charge them for ads that had a 100% chance of being seen.
While there are disagreements over whether 100% viewability is feasible, many marketers believe that they should at least be able to hire independent companies to check the viewability numbers and enable brands to compare viewability rates on an apples-to-apples basis across multiple publishers.
“Third party verification is a critical component to responsively measure ad viewability. The vast majority of publishers agree to it and the few that don’t will be adversely impacted with significantly reduced spend or be completely removed from our preferred vendor list,” said GroupM’s chief investment officer Rino Scanzoni in an emailed statement.
Some publishers, including YouTube and Facebook, have already been impacted.
Kellogg Co. won’t buy YouTube because Google doesn’t permit third-party viewability measurement, Jim Kiszka, senior manager-paid digital media, North America, said during the question-and-answer portion of a panel on fraud in digital advertising at the Association of National Advertisers Media Leadership Conference in Hollywood, Fla. in March.
“We’ve always been clear with all partners across the digital ecosystem that as a principle we want to measure our investment and if we can’t measure it, it’s hard to justify the investment,” said Aaron Fetters, director of Kellogg’s global insights and analytics solutions center, in a recent interview.
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