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The trials and tribulations of viewability | Mumbrella360 video

Publishers, media agencies and marketers continue to grapple with viewability. In this session from June's Mumbrella360 conference, a panel of experts urges the industry find a solution.

While viewability has been kicking around as an issue for the Australian market for the past couple of years, there is growing consensus it is high time the industry got its act together and came up with some agreed rules for everyone to play by.

“I think there’s a common theme here that we all think this is a box that’s checked and so we can move onto brand safety and effectiveness,” says Hugo Drayton, the CEO of Inskin Media, summing up the sentiment of a panel.

Viewability is simply defined as the opportunity for a human being to see a display ad on a web page. Despite the simple nature of the problem, different agencies, publishers and industry bodies have their own definitions of what constitutes a view, much to the frustration of each group.

One school of thought stems from a standard produced from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) in the US, which defined a view as at least 50% of an ad appearing for at least one second on the user’s screen.

Vijay Solanki, Yvetter Mayer, Nathan Powell, Hugo Drayton

OMD Sydney’s managing director Yvette Mayer admits while they accept the IAB’s definition as a baseline metric, she is frustrated at the way that definition was reached.

“I don’t think anyone would agree it is scientifically proven to be an accurate metric,” she says. “In the US when they came up with it as a metric I know for a fact it was a decision by committee, and there were no analytics or data used.

OMD’s Yvetter Mayer

“It feels like a miss to me that we have so much information and access to data that we could model to find a more realistic point of quality.”

Nathan Powell, director of sales – digital product for Nine Digital, says all publishers need to sign up to third-party auditing of their performance to ensure there is a level playing field for marketers to make buying decisions.

He explains: “There are multiple conversations, that’s why it’s important as an industry to make sure we’re all being measured from the same score card. I don’t think anyone should be able to mark their own homework, and if I am a marketer it is the only way I can make an informed decision on a like-for-like basis across my buys.

“The one thing I will add there for those clients that have different ways of buying on different measurement standards is just be upfront and transparent with publishers and agency partners, it’s about making sure you are clear about what success looks like and what the benchmark is. And when everyone involved knows what that is, we can actually create a solution for you.”

Ultimately then viewability appears to be a discussion that is wearing down people from all sides of the debate, and an area the IAB’s Vijay Solanki feels Australia could become a global leader in, encouraging other industry bodies to work with them to create a more compelling set of standards for all players to stand behind.

As Nine’s Powell says: “There’s a really easy approach to all this, and that’s to treat the disease and not the symptoms. How we do that is by creating great products, and if we as a publisher do that then everything else will fall into place.”

This session was curated by Inskin Media.

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