The Media Rating Council (MRC) on Monday lifted its advisory against buying and selling display ads based on viewability metrics.
“The state of viewability measurements is much better than it was 16 months ago and viewability vendors have greater insight into the range of ads that are served in campaigns,” said David Gunzerath, SVP and associate director of the MRC.
The MRC had cautioned advertisers and publishers against using viewability solutions due to discrepancies in the solutions’ abilities to determine whether people had seen an online ad.
Cross-domain iFrames, for example, inhibited marketers’ ability to measure display ad viewability. Ad tech firms have since developed add-on solutions or improved their technology to address these issues.
The MRC has been evaluating and accrediting the viewability technologies of ad tech firms and has approved 11 vendors: RealVu, comScore vCE-Validation, DoubleVerify, Google Active View, spider.io, Integral Ad Science, Alenty, Sizmek, Moat, WebSpectator for Publishers and Glam Media.
A major turning point was the increased percentage of ads that could be measured, Gunzerath noted. “When we began our study, only about 10% of ads served in some campaigns were measurable,” he said. “Now it’s fairly regular for 70% or 80% of the ads to be measured by vendors.”
In terms of viewability metrics for video, the MRC will allow the public to comment on the standards for video measurements that the organization introduced in conjunction with the Interactive Advertising Bureau, American Association of Advertising Agencies and the Association of National Advertisers in January before moving forward.
These organizations are also reviewing viewability standards for the mobile Web. It had already been decided, said Gunzerath, that the tendency for ads to be centered within mobile apps means viewability “is largely not an issue” and it will review ads served on the mobile Web next.
Improved viewability measurements are a boon for advertisers since it removes some of the uncertainty behind buying online ads. Publishers, however, may have less inventory to sell, so it is possible that some may increase prices or look for other ways to compensate for the loss in revenue.