Video Essentials

Viewability Is the Tip of the Iceberg: Get the Whole Picture

Ad viewability is crucial, but it’s being misused as a metric. Measurement specialist ComScore today introduced a report on burning issues in the digital ad world, and moving beyond viewability is one of them.

While viewability first became a central concern six years ago, the report says, even today the industry still isn’t sure how to handle it. Many advertisers focus on it too strongly and use viewability as a central campaign metric. That’s not a good plan: Viewability should be table stakes. As the report says, it’s an effectiveness metric, not a diagnostic for managing the quality of inventory.

Viewability simply tells the advertiser whether or not an ad is poised to make an impact. It’s a starting point, not an end destination.

“As consumers, we don’t buy a new TV because it has a low defect rate on the production line,” ComScore says. “We buy it because of the quality of the experience it delivers at the price we’re willing to pay. With digital ads, less focus should be placed on whether the ad is viewable and more focus should be placed on the quality of the ad unit, the ad creative, the audience it reaches, and the context in which it is seen.”

Viewability is a critical starting point, but the central tenets for campaign effectiveness remain reach, frequency, GRPs, and demographics. That hasn’t changed.

Advertisers need to know whether or not online video campaigns achieved their goals, but simply being seen shouldn’t be a goal. Instead, look to attitudinal, behavioral, and sales lift as measures of campaign effectiveness.

“Clean, viewability impressions are an important input, but it is time we move beyond viewability and retrain our sights on the metrics that matter,” ComScore says.

For more topics that matter right now, download ComScore’s Top 10 Burning Issues in Digital for free (registration required). Other burning issues include bridging the divide between TV and digital, monetizing mobile views, and cross-device marketing.


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