Consequently, Videology can accommodate both the MRC’s baseline video viewability standards (50% of pixels viewable onscreen for two consecutive seconds) as well as GroupM’s stricter standard (100% of pixels viewable onscreen for at least half of a video’s duration, sound on and user-initiated).
Viewability is still hard to track because of the discrepancies between platforms and measurement sources.
“It’s hard to arrive at a single standard because I don’t think anyone agrees on what a viewable ad is yet,” Ferber said. “Yes, marketers are concerned a real person is looking at their ad, but things like DVRs or streaming video environments are also changing some of the KPIs.”
And, in some cases – such as with pre-roll video ads – viewability is only part of the issue. Some question the relevance of impression-based CPMs as the standard currency for video in the first place.
Additionally, some buyers don’t have an accurate sense of how far their dollar can stretch in the digital video economy.
“There’s still this unicorn in the digital video space where people think they can get phenomenally targeted audiences for ultra cheap across brand sites and yeah, that’s a myth,” Ferber said. “Quality will rise, and that’s why we spent over a year integrating with three of the biggest measurement providers.”
Instituting quality controls could instill more confidence with marketers.
Having publicly spoken to the challenges that still plague programmatic buys, Heineken’s senior media director, Ron Amram, added: “It’s important to measure and scrutinize inventory based on fraud and viewability … which all validate the removal of walled gardens. Lack of transparency breeds bad things.”