Skip to main content
News >

Now you see me, now you don’t

In his latest piece for Communicate, Omnicom Media Group MENA’s CEO questions whether we’re paying enough attention to viewability.

With the amount of data and technology available today, marketers are expected to be more accountable and strategic in the way they stimulate business growth. Marketing is increasingly viewed at the board level as an investment rather than an expense; the quantifiable return being expressed in better brand metrics, sales volumes or loyalty levels. To achieve this, though, they’ve had to overcome challenges like the lack of transparency from publishers and platforms, dealing with proxy media metrics or using inadequate measurement.

This is why we welcomed digital media with open arms, as it promised more accountability, accuracy and transparency than good old analog media. This alone led marketers to move increasingly large amounts of advertising dollars towards digital platforms, which today claim around 50 percent of total investments in key international markets and some 30 percent in MENA.

While we are far better able to quantify both audience and advertising performance and attribute it to business success more effectively with digital media than with legacy channels, there are still major issues. The more we learn about the performance of digital ads, the more we discover the limitations of the platforms serving them. At this current scale, digital is no longer the plaything it once was and now needs to deliver the rigor and accuracy it promised.

One is fraud and non-human traffic, which typically affects around one percent of total impressions. The second, which got much press coverage, is brand safety and concerns over the placement of ads against questionable (or worse) material. This is estimated to impact less than five percent of impressions. The elephant in the room, however, is viewability, which doesn’t quite capture the imagination as the other two but concerns over half of total impressions.

Put simply, ad viewability is a measure of the opportunity to see a display or video ad online. There are two main methods to assess this: the Media Ratings Council (MRC) declares an ad that is 50 percent in view, seen for at least two seconds by a human as viewable. The second, called ‘audible and viewable on completion’ (AVOC), describes a viewable ad as 100 percent on-screen, seen with audio and video on by a human. This means not skipped/paused, not muted, not under the fold, not served to a bot…

For further insight on why viewability is so important and why we need to change our approach, Omnicom Media Group MENA’s CEO, Elie Khouri, shares his thoughts in Communicate magazine. Read more here.