FEATURE21 November 2013

Believed to be seen

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Viewability metrics will soon be the primary trading currency for digital display advertising. Marketers can’t wait to start getting what they’re paying for.


When advertisers pay for an ad, they want people to see it. But estimates are that, in 2012 at least, 1.8 trillion online display ads were paid for but could not be seen. No wonder marketers are counting down the days to the arrival of the ‘viewability’ metric.

Viewability measurement has long been heralded as the answer to the question of how to get advertisers to spend more money on digital brand advertising. Direct response advertisers have their clickthroughs and conversion metrics. But brand advertisers want to know that their ads are being seen by the right audience and that their target audience is becoming more aware of their brand as a result.

But brand advertisers have good reason to suspect that digital hasn’t been delivering the goods for them. An oft-quoted study by ComScore, first published in June, found that 54% of display ads do not have the opportunity to be seen by ...