IAB launches inaugural ad viewability data benchmarks

Interactive Advertising Bureau releases the first in its new series of biannual whitepapers based on Australia digital advertising viewability data

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Australia is claiming a world-first after launching its inaugural edition of digital advertising viewability benchmarks based on industry data.

The association has partnered with PricewaterhouseCoopers to collect benchmarking industry data from Comscore, Integral Ad Science and Moat, which will be published in a biannual format. The viewability approach is based on seven principles now outlines in the IAB’s Viewability White Paper, released today and produced by a taskforce including other media publishers, agencies and vendors such as Carsales, TubeMogul, Google, News Corp, OMD, Starcom, Telstra and Yahoo!7.

The principles are:

  1. The IAB viewability standard is the MRC (US Media Rating Council) standard
  2. The IAB is committed to driving viewability
  3. Non-viewable and non-measurable does not equal fraud
  4. Independent measurement is an absolute necessity to measure viewability
  5. The IAB will work with the vendors to publish viewability benchmarks every six months
  6. The IAB encourages publishes, agencies and clients to work together to drive continuous improvement
  7. The IAB recognises the importance of viewability but notes other variables drive business returns

According to the inaugural report benchmark data, viewability rates for direct buys in Australia are significantly higher than inventory purchased through programmatic means on both desktop and mobile formats. The report found 56.4 per cent of publisher direct ads were viewable on desktops, versus 44.9 per cent via programmatic buying. On mobile, 55.9 per cent of publisher direct ads were viewable, versus 45 per cent of programmatic.

The report also highlighted significant differences between different types of desktop formats, with 160 x 600 the most viewable (75.8 per cent), followed by 300 x 600 (71.1 per cent). The least viewable ad format was 300 x 250 at 45.2 per cent.

IAB director of research, Gai Le Roy, put this variance down to a combination of site design, the ad position on a page and also whether the creative ad unit uses LEAN digital advertising principles (light, encrypted, ad choice support and non-invasive).

The IAB said viewability is the “opportunity to see” rather than a measurement of engagement or ad effectiveness, setting it out as a baseline for measuring advertising efficiency. IAB CEO, Vijay Solanki, said the association has tried to simplify the complex task of explaining viewability where it can.

“While viewability is important, there are other variables to consider,” he pointed out. “We look forward to healthy engagement on the whitepaper as we work with the industry to take this work forward.”

According to recent State of the Industry: Marketing and Advertising Technology Report, commissioned by the IAB, ad agencies and marketers are endeavouring to take better control of ad spending and campaign monitoring with increasing use of tracking technologies. On the top five list of technologies in the report were attribution modelling, ad viewability tracking, DSPs, tag management and DMPs.

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