Ad Verification, Ad Blocking and the Latest Industry Benchmarks
Michael IantoscaNovember 11, 2014
How do you see ad verification changing the way media is planned, bought, and measured?
Employing verification has become the baseline for establishing impactful campaigns – it enables advertisers to understand where they are advertising and if their ads have the chance to engage the consumer. Advertisers and agencies are taking the data they are gathering from verification partners and have begun to implement this into the planning and buying processes. We’ve also seen data used in reconciliation to actually pay on benchmarks that have been established with partners such as with Xaxis Prime.
As an industry, there is stronger consensus toward accountability from all sides. Advertisers owe it to brands to ensure that their advertising appears on media that has the greatest potential to make an impact. Media suppliers want to prove that they have the best inventory available to meet campaign objectives.
How does ad blocking impact spend?
True ad blocking does not impact spend. Rather, it allows for reallocation of budget toward more effective and on-brand ad placements. With true ad blocking, the ad is blocked before it hits the creative ad server, and assuming the advertiser is paying based on its ad server’s numbers, the advertiser is not charged for the impression. This is different from simply obfuscating the ad, which requires advertisers to engage in make-good conversations after the campaign is over.
What are the industry benchmarks?
According to our Q3 2014 benchmarks, display impressions sourced directly from publishers were viewable just over half the time at 53 percent. Three percent suffered from ad fraud, and 10 percent suffered from brand risk. For networks and exchanges, viewability is 37 percent, ad fraud is 14 percent, and brand risk is 17 percent.
Our latest report also features for the same metrics for video plus completion rates. 30 percent of video ads are viewable as per the MRC definition, but we also discovered that 20 percent are completed in view.
What are the pros and cons of leveraging monitoring vs. blocking ad-verification?
Monitoring is actionable intelligence. The ability to assess media quality comes with the power to do something about it. Advertisers can increase viewability, decrease ad fraud, and optimize by media partner – all by gaining visibility and taking action.
The con of monitoring is that it’s a manual process, and for brand safety and fraud, the damage has been done. Firewall blocking prevents problems before they happen. By blocking ads from appearing on traffic that is fraudulent or outside the intended geo, risk is averted without impacting campaign budget.
What ranges have you seen in terms of viewability and blocking rates between RTB and Premium/site direct inventory?
As cited above, site direct inventory suffers from less fraud, which also contributes to greater viewability. There’s a 45% increase in viewability compared to networks and exchanges, or almost 18 percentage points higher.
How is ad verification most commonly being leveraged for display and video?
Advertisers and agencies are trying to understand the overall quality of the media they are buying. They’re looking to get a further understanding of brand safety, viewability, fraud, context – the clutter within the overall ad environment - through both after-the-fact reporting and real-time preventative solutions like ad blocking.
What are the limitations in ad verification for display vs. video?
However, on a broader scale, video requires more than just standard measurement, as it entails different engagement metrics than display banner ads. Advertisers might want to know the mute rate of their videos, which would require VPAID compliant players (a technology specific to video). We consider this to be the most comprehensive verification because advertisers gain visibility into both VPAID and 3MS metrics. The challenge is that many publishers do not meet the requirements necessary for this measurement.
Another challenge in video is that advertisers define video quality differently. Advertisers must consider the breadth of their verification vendors’ technology when choosing a partner.
There has already been progress in this area, but it will likely take some time for the industry to overcome these limitations in ad verification.
Can ad verification be applied across other digital channels (social, digital radio, etc.)?
Yes, however the biggest limitation holding verification back in the social sphere is publishers’ unwillingness to accept ad verification.
What refinements in the ad verification process are planned by IAS?
We see this as a three-pronged approach.
- The first is depth. We constantly innovate to offer in-depth solutions that meet all the quality opportunities this dynamic industry presents.
- The second is breadth. We cross channels, screens, and even oceans.
- The last is accessibility. We have strong relationships with innovative companies and platforms, Xaxis being among them. Integrations have allowed us to transform our capabilities into turnkey solutions for our partners’ clients.