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commoditising viewability

Why commoditising viewability is key for media buyers and publishers

Commoditising viewability is fast becoming key for media buyers and publishers in the industry

As viewability takes a greater portion of the attention of both media buyers and publishers, calls for industry-standardised viewability rates have become louder and more frequent. While the IAB has set a
generally accepted definition of viewability – 50% of the impression in view for 1 second of display – the question of what portion of a campaign’s or publisher’s impressions should be viewable remains
undecided. For agencies and marketers, the methodology for integrating viewability into media-buying remains murky, and on the other side of the market, publishers face the challenge of trying to raise
viewability rates while still ensuring they monetize their inventory and respect user experience.
Until a technological solution comes in place to be able to only buy viewable impressions, both parties will need to manage non-viewable inventory.
So what is the industry to do? Should we simply all agree on a minimum viewability rate and adjust our media buying and selling to accommodate it? The short answer is no. Not only would such a
standard stifle the supply of impressions, it would remove the option for advertisers to buy cost-effective impressions that, despite a lower viewability rate, they often find desirable.
Instead, marketers should be examining the cost of their current purchases of viewable impressions by using a metric known as Viewable CPM (vCPM), which describes the cost per thousand viewable impressions.
Including viewability and cost into one measure, vCPM allows marketers to cleanly understand the cost-effectiveness of their purchases. And vCPM can be of great importance to marketers and agencies involved in programmatic buying.

Bidding on quality
Programmatic buying can provide a nimble way for advertisers to buy viewable impressions at a cost-effective rate. The ability to pull historical publisher- and placement-specific data on viewability rates
and costs gives buyers valuable insight into what vCPM they have been paying across the programmatic space, and with this insight, buyers can then optimize their movement in and out of specific publishers and placements during a campaign.
But even better, forward-thinking programmatic buying technologies have automated this process. Called “demand side platforms”, DSPs, these technologies use historical viewability-rates to vary bids
across publishers and placements. A DSP can automatically bid a lower price for impressions of historically low viewability and a higher price for impressions of historically high viewability.
A buyer’s ability to measure and optimize to a vCPM also creates an incentive for publishers to increase the quality of their inventory without needing to forgo cost-efficient opportunities to monetize
lower-quality inventory. This drive toward optimization should not be seen as a threat to publishers as a whole, but rather only to those hucksters that try to push low-quality inventory at unreasonably high prices.
It is important to the development of the industry for market players to measure and adjust media activity based on the valuation of the quality of the inventory. A marketplace focused on a Viewable CPM is an environment where buyers and sellers are incentivized to develop a more rational market around viewability and will be a benefit to all players in the industry.

This post was brought to you by Greg Mulligan from Team Performance at Match Media.