“A buyer may believe that a publisher with a 70% viewability rate is better than one with a 55% rate, but that same buyer can be persuaded otherwise if the first publisher uses a vendor that doesn’t remove fraud and relies on projections to measure the traffic,” the report stated.
Even if a publisher negotiates a favorable agreement between buyer and seller, it still risks not being able to deliver. Forecasting poses another challenge to publishers’ bottom lines. Planning tools don’t provide much to help with forecasting viewability. “People are just coming to grips with the operational requirements around viewability, on both sides,” Rasko said.
That puts buyers and sellers alike at the risk of underdelivery and the dreaded make-good. “The whole thing blows up because the measurement doesn’t add up, you can’t forecast. This is a problem for the buy side too,” Rasko said.
Solving the discrepancies around measurement and forecasting won’t come soon, but Rasko, like others, looks to another digital measurement crisis, ad server counts, as a historical precedent.
Eventually, vendors consolidated, measurement standardized, and buyers and sellers figured out how to get exactly what they paid for. But in the meantime, publishers must arm themselves with knowledge to ensure they don’t lose revenue as the standard shifts to viewable.