Until then, 70% is a practical interim solution, and that’s only fair, said Sherrill Mane, the IAB’s SVP of research, analytics and measurement. The variability that exists in the space right now – different ad units, browsers, placements, vendors and measurement methodologies – mean that there’s still work to be done. The IAB report contains a series of recommendations to encourage greater collaboration in the coming year, including tips on billing and make-goods.
“The road to 100% viewability is complex,” Mane said. “The entire ecosystem must work collaboratively on improving education and measurement. It’s vital that we adhere to the standards that MRC has overseen and will continue to oversee – otherwise, we will have measurement and supply chain dysfunction that will make the realization of the power of digital media alone and as part of a cross-media platform plan, nearly impossible to realize.”
Although players like Unilever and Condé Nast aren’t happy with the current state of affairs, Mane was quick to point out that not everyone is as draconian in their viewability demands. “It’s not the industry that expects 100% viewability, it’s a few companies,” she said.
Vik Kathuria, global chief media officer at Razorfish and a Mediacom vet, also cut the standard some slack.
“The digital ecosystem is evolving at a rapid pace and it is critical for us as stewards of our clients’ media strategy to focus not on media output but relevant business results,” he said “Viewability is one of the many factors, along with click fraud, where the focus needs to be on accountability by the publishers.”
But Bidel, for her part, is quick to point out the need to be clear on the difference between viewability and fraud.
“I wrote a report myself on fraud and I tried hard to make a distinction between them,” said Bidel, who does most of her research on the sell side. “Viewability is an issue that everyone understands and everyone is actively trying to deal with – and my feeling is: Good luck to them all.”