Ad Viewability Standards to Keep Ad Costs in Check

Ad viewability (sometimes called ad verification) is a web advertising metric that not only tells advertisers how often their ads are being seen, it also tells them how effectively they’re using their ad dollars.
Given the fact that, according to an Integral Ad Science study, as many as half of all web advertisements are never visible long enough for anyone to actually see, understanding ad viewability tools is a pretty big deal.
Web advertisers of all kinds have been calling on the industry to address this problem and during the March meeting of the Media Rating Council, steps were taken towards standardizing ad viewability definitions for both video and banner advertising.
Standardizing definitions is a big step for the ad business, but it’s especially huge news for companies like Integral Ad Science. Integral peddles a software suite that’s designed to help increase ad viewability and increase the number of eyeballs on any given web ad.
While these new standards are great news for ad buyers, they could cause headaches for ad networks that have operated with some pretty lax standards for a very long time. While there are no guarantees in advertising of any kind, it’s generally agreed that the digital ad world has had something of a free ride.
For example, under the current standards, an ad that’s entirely off screen could still be counted as “viewed.”
The group charged with creating the new ad viewability standards is an industry-funded work group called, Making Measurement Make Sense (3ms).
3MS is rolling out the viewability standards over the next three years and seem quite sincere in their efforts to help clean up viewability issues.
That said, some industry watchers have pointed out that their standards still set a very low bar.
For example, a display ad that’s fifty percent visible for only a second is still going to count, and cost, just like an ad that sits in plain view for several seconds. Video ads must be visible for two seconds in order to be considered viewed.
Regardless of how the standards may seem, they are definitely a step in the right direction and give ad buyers new tools for determining how effective their ad dollars really are.
As Media Rating Council Executive Director and CEO George W. Ivie says, ”  This shift will ultimately benefit the entire advertising ecosystem by paving the way to better cross-platform campaign planning and analysis.”