SOUTHEAST ASIA - As an advertiser paying for digital advertising space, 50 percent of a display ad in view for one second might not feel like a great deal. But in the still-developing industry discussion around viewability, it’s a start.
“It also feels like a pretty arbitrary number,” said Niall Hogan, managing director of SEA at IAS (Integral Ad Science). “Advertisers are asking, where did that one second come from? Where’s the research?”
Currently, the standard set by the Media Rating Council (MRC) in the US and the regional Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) defines viewability for display as 50 percent of the ad for one second. For video, it’s 50 percent of the ad for two continuous seconds.
While a definition for mobile video viewability is yet to be ratified, current MRC/IAB guidance for mobile is the same as it is for desktop: 50 percent in view for two consecutive seconds.
For Jessica Chuang, director of regional marketing for Greater China, SEA and India at Hotels.com, viewability provides the team with guidance in understanding whether targeted audiences have had the opportunity to view the brand’s ads.
“While we follow the IAB/MRC industry standards for a viewable impression, we know that these are restrictive, particularly for video, as we aim to get our message across to our audiences,” she said. “We therefore look at viewability as one of the metrics that determine the effectiveness of a publisher/campaign together with metrics such as completion rates while pairing it with the media costs, as high-quality inventory that is more likely to be viewable tends to be more expensive."
Hiren Desai, director of digital leadership at Carat Singapore, noted that in Southeast Asia, brands have just started monitoring their viewability and believes that advertisers should be buying on a viewable CPM (vCPM) basis.
“If I’m doing a branding campaign and my objective is only to push the message across, I would love to buy on a viewable impression basis," he said. "That really helps in terms of identifying that we are reaching our target audience, exposing the ad to them sufficiently and giving the viewer enough time to notice our communication.
“If I’m trying to sell something or drive traffic to my website, I wouldn’t entirely bid on viewable CPM because it isn’t as relevant. It really depends what your end objective is and how you want to communicate to your audience."
There’s also a lot of discussion around the notion of 100 percent viewability. Hogan said it is possible, but to achieve it, publishers would probably have to deliver 130 percent on impressions.
“Campaigns will need to be over-delivered in order to meet that requirement,” he said.
Chuang pointed out that while 100 percent viewability might be possible, it should not come at the expense of the consumer experience.
“We’re mindful that it’s extremely hard to achieve such high viewability standards, and even start to become wary when viewability gets close to 100 percent as we look to understand how such good results can be achieved,” she said.
Paying on a vCPM sounds attractive, as it’s another way to ensure advertisers get the exposure they’re looking for. But ultimately, Chuang said, it’s about demand and supply and ensuring enough inventory is available to trade on a vCPM basis.
“If this cost structure helps increase the overall quality of the available inventory, then I don’t see any issues,” she added.
Hogan added that the important thing for advertisers, is to work with a vendor to measure each and every campaign, and to identify the optimum viewability percentage and lengths in view for that product or service being advertised. Each campaign will be different and will need a different setup from suppliers to achieve the optimum performance.
However marketers in the region are also still looking at their current viewability rather buying against higher viewability, said Desai.
“We are moving a little slow in this part of the world," he said. "What this region needs to do is begin buying vCPM inventory via DSPs that allow this while we all wait for direct publishers to also start offering inventory on vCPM. Right now, everyone is just talking about it, but very few are putting this into action.”
Desai noted that there are still inventory sellers who are adamant about not selling their inventory completely on vCPM.
“This has to change and is currently our strongest barrier to growth," he said. "Pressure is mounting as some adtech companies already offer bidding on vCPM. At the same time, a few agency networks have also started having partnerships and buying towards viewability. Eventually this will trickle down to the entire industry as a whole.”
In a bid to aid industry conversations about the topic, a new viewability whitepaper released by TubeMogul seeks to provide an update on the expansion of viewability standards to more devices and takes a deep dive into what has been learned about viewability over the past year.
As the viewability space continues to evolve in Southeast Asia, viewability establishes itself as a metric, advertisers want to know how to find the best viewability possible.
The report shared that one of the ways to increase a campaign’s viewability rate is to optimise delivery towards more premium inventory, where larger player sizes and high quality content attract increased viewability.
Factors like player size and page environment may not seem obvious, but are important variables to consider as they can significantly affect viewability.
For many, video player size is an afterthought. However, the report found an important trend: as player width increases, so too do viewability rates. This is likely because larger video players occupy a bigger portion of the web page, increasing the likelihood of it being seen by attracting and holding the users attention.