The Viewability Standard Will Shake Up The Display Ads Industry, But Ultimately Benefit Publishers

Since the day the very first banner ad appeared nineteen years ago, advertisers and publishers have defined a served impression in a multiplicity of ways.  Today, advertisers have little confidence that what they are buying is what they are getting, a factor that is contributing to the downward pressure on CPMs for display ads.

The Viewability initiative, slated to take effect formally in 2014, is the industry’s first step toward remedying the uncertainty about actual served impressions.  It establishes a base line definition of what a viewable impression is and basic rules of engagement for the display ad industry, both of which I think are critical to its long-term viability. 

It seems to me that agreement and implementation of a viewability standard starts the industry down the path of greater appreciation for content, context and the important work that publishers do. This is why I chose it as the topic for my first report:  “Viewability Brings Transparency To The Display Ads Market.” In it, I examine the current state of affairs in the digital display market, review what publishers and marketers have to gain, and examine the costs involved in preparing for and executing on viewability.

A few findings from the report are particularly relevant for publishers:

  • Viewability will be table stakes by 2014. The host of technical obstacles will be overcome and a sufficient selection of measurement vendors will be accredited to allow for choice of partners
  • Accommodating the new standard offers publishers the opportunity to re-think site structures in order to optimize performance for both their constituencies – advertisers and consumers
  • New packaging and pricing options will emerge
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