“Data Driven Thinking” is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.
Today’s column is written by Alex Calic, Chief Revenue Officer at The Media Trust.
Based on the velocity of articles written on the topic last year, "viewable impressions" has displaced "ad verification" as the hot delivery topic in the ad tech industry for 2013. But when you consider how the media consumption habits of Internet users are changing, viewability fades in near-term importance.
Consumers are spending ever more time on social networks -- more than any other category of sites on the web -- and as such are becoming accustomed to a content experience that differs significantly from what is offered by typical website content management systems. The traditional web page is an adaptation of legacy print media, which pieces together multiple columns of static content with blocks of ads in a portrait layout. Led by Facebook’s News Feed, social networks are popularizing a different approach that displays standardized units of content, in the form of text, links and images from a user’s social graph. Those content elements appear in a single column that updates with new information in real time.
In all of these stream examples, the ad creative is muted in contrast to the typical flashy ad unit and consists of a single advertiser. So what the advertiser loses in "wow" factor (or "ow" from the user perspective) with a traditional ad experience is made up for in relevance (hopefully) and singular attention by not having to compete with other advertisers on a page and by being presented front-and-center to the user -- ensuring the ad is seen. As the real-time news feed approach to presenting media proliferates, it will alleviate the need to use verification services for viewable impressions.
Remember, it wasn’t that long ago that the ad tech industry was consumed with a different delivery issue -- ad verification. The likes of AdSafe Media and DoubleVerify raised over $50 million combined in 2010-2011 to build a business around solving for this issue. In 2012 both companies replaced their CEOs while AdSafe also underwent a rebranding as ad verification became commoditized at the ad server level and a smaller problem, especially related to premium content publishers, than the industry led everyone to believe. Let’s not go through this again with viewable impressions.