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Advertisers Demand More Accountability from Online Publishers

by Michael Goodman | 5月 28, 2015

The ability of digital advertising to deliver specific audiences has long been trumpeted as one of its great strengths; however, what those audiences are actually seeing can be more questionable and advertisers are becoming less willing to take online publishers word for that. According to Ad Age, Kellogg has stopped buying YouTube ads because the platform will not let the company bring in 3rd party viewability measurement companies to verify how many people have seen their ads. Google is not alone in feeling the pressure to allow 3rd party verification. Another top brand reduced its spending on Facebook ads, at least partially because Facebook won't permit 3rd party viewability verification.

Now this is not to say that Google is not delivering value. According to Google, video ads on YouTube have a chance to be seen 91% of the time, far better than the 46% of video ads that Google serves outside of YouTube, however, advertisers what to do more than just take Google or anyone else’s, word that this is the case. Even more importantly is the ability to compare viewabilty across publishers. Currently, the methodology publishers are using to calculate viewability is proprietary, making it difficult, if not impossible, for advertisers to compare viewabilty across sites. Third party verification will ensure that the same methodology is being used across all sites, allowing for an apples-to-apples comparison.

Third party viewability verification is coming to digital advertising and it is going to come quickly. Not even market leaders Google, with $59.1 billion in digital advertising revenue, and Facebook ($11.9 billion) will be able to resist when brands like Kellogg and Kraft Foods and ad agencies like GroupM start shifting ad dollars away from online publishers who refuse to submit to 3rd party verification to those who support it.

Now the next question is, when will advertisers begin questioning what constitutes an ad view in online video. Currently, a viewer of an online video ad only has to be exposed to 50% of the pixels with 2 seconds of audio to be credited for an ad view. In comparison, in television a viewer needs to watch the full ad with audio. I guess this will be a topic for another day.

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