Why Viewability Insight Without Action is Futile


“Without knowledge action is useless, and knowledge without action is futile.*”

In advertising, insight from viewability reports simply isn’t enough; businesses must use this knowledge proactively to deliver what advertisers need. The ability to create actionable data was identified as the most important factor for success in a study published by ExchangeWire Research at the beginning of the year. Beyond simply reading and understanding reports, utilizing viewability to its maximum potential means acting on its insights to drive greater business results. But how can you turn viewability insights into action for advertisers?

Viewability is hand-in-hand with performance

As effective as optimization is, it is often not seen as a top priority to the extent that it’s typically an afterthought in all but the most critical campaigns or in response to complaints. This is because it’s difficult, time consuming, and reactive by its very nature. Yet optimization is critical in making sure campaigns deliver to advertiser goals and keep them spending with you.
Manual optimization only allows for decisions based on limited criteria. It is subjective, and it’s difficult to identify what’s driving campaign success. Factor in viewability data and this suddenly gets even more complex.

Despite much debate and discussion, CTR is still the dominant goal for most campaigns. Sure, many feel it’s completely ineffective and has no real value. However, CTR is entrenched and people understand it. The adoption of viewability is growing, but slowly, and there’s great opportunity for those ahead of the curve to move beyond CTR to more meaningful metrics and optimization. But traditional performance metrics still play a role.

While advertisers crave viewability, many also want to factor in a performance metric and achieve these goals concurrently. The only solution to make sense of all the complex data to drive meaningful insight and decisioning and to deliver what the advertiser wants is through technology. Make sure you’re looking into the right tools to keep ahead of your advertisers’ demands.

Challenge conventional wisdom
Conventional wisdom tells advertisers to focus on above-the-fold placements to achieve high viewability, yet in reality, below-the-fold can be more effective in driving viewability and attention metrics. While above-the-fold logically should deliver more viewable ads, this does not necessarily translate into “viewed ads.” Users who scroll further down may be exposed to ads that are actually more valuable and viewed, and by engaging with the content they may well display a greater level of awareness of the advertising.
Best practices are a fantastic thing, but try and look at your data to identify all the relevant placements that are actually driving viewability – it may surprise you which ones they are.

Use viewability reports to the full

It may sound obvious, but ops teams should be focusing on how they’re using the viewability reports available to them in association with their own data. Do they simply review them to identify what the viewability rates are compared to what the advertiser wants? Or are they having an in-depth look and seeking to understand how to improve rates on an ongoing basis? For example, by trying to identify top-performing ad units for viewability and those that are delivering very low performance, these insights can then be used as a jumping off point for site redesigns, to remove ineffective placement and ensure ads are more viewable across the site.
Ensure you can accommodate the various viewability vendors available.

The sheer volume of viewability vendors – 17 accredited on the MRCs website at last count – is slowing the adoption of viewability as a core metric. While it’s great to have options, there’s no standardization, and it’s difficult to understand how to apply the insights from any one viewability vendor in a business. At the recent AdvertisingWeek Europe, ISBA — the voice of British advertisers — and Nestlé were both demanding vendor consolidation to help address this issue.

A publisher working with different advertisers, for example, may have to work with reports from numerous viewability vendors. Different advertisers using different viewability vendors for their different campaigns — and delivering results that can differ wildly — renders consistency near impossible, and publishers struggle to act on the information received.

Just as technology is helping drive efficiencies across the advertising process, to effectively interpret and take the right action on a wealth of different data from the different reports you are juggling with, make sure you have the right technology to handle this.
The volume of data available to publishers today has the potential to overwhelm, but it also offers greater actionable insight than ever before. Manually sifting through viewability reports in an effort to pick out nuggets that may help steer optimization just doesn’t work. To get full value from your investment in viewability data requires having an ongoing viewability optimization strategy. You need to be investing in tools that allow you to apply the insights fully and target campaign optimization toward viewable impressions. As advertiser demand grows for campaigns to run on viewable impressions, developing your whole approach to optimization needs to be central to delivering this.
*A quote from Muhammad’s trusted advisor, Abu Bakr.


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