Results tagged “Viewability” from IABlog

I have been in multiple conversations recently with clients about video fraud, safety and content verification and how those impact video advertising today. I was asked questions such as “How concerned should I be? What’s the best way to prevent issues? What are my options? It became clear to me that while there’s overall concern about the topic of video verification, there’s also a knowledge gap that needs to be addressed. 

So here is a cheat sheet of the things you may want to consider in your solution. All the items below are critical to ensuring maximum protection for your brand. 

1) Media Neutrality
The single most important thing is to ensure that you are not using a solution that is provided by a company that also sells you the media. There are several verification solutions on the market, but many of them are homegrown solutions offered by media sellers that aim to offer insight into the quality, or lack thereof, of their competitors’ inventory. In other words, if Company A sells you media and also tells you, here’s a solution that will verify our media - can you believe that this is a viable solution? To avoid this conflict of interest and ensure that you’re getting accurate information, you should prioritize solutions that are media neutral.

2) Methodology and Technology
It is also crucial that you are confident in and comfortable with the technologies and the methodologies used by your solution of choice. Here are 3 questions you want to ask:
  • What’s your measurable Rate? - This KPI measures the percent of impressions verified out of the total impressions delivered in the campaign. Your goal should be to get as close as possible to a measurable rate of 100%.
  • Are you MRC accredited? - A solution that carries the MRC seal means it is a trusted solution that has gone through a rigorous set of tests and has been validated to meet a certain set of guidelines and industry standards. 
  • What’s your level of publisher transparency and cooperation? - Keeping your media partners in the dark is counterproductive and ensures the negative outcomes you are trying to avoid. Make sure the relevant data is available to your media partners in real time and that you frequently communicate with them to address any issues that may come up. 
3) Fraud Detection and Brand Safety
No verification solution can be considered viable without addressing these two topics. 

Fraud detection identifies whether an impression was generated by a human (i.e. real or not). Fraud has been an ongoing issue since the early days of online advertising with click fraud in search marketing and other CPC driven marketing. Since then, the problem evolved and started affecting CPM based advertising such as display and video. There is already a great deal of industry buzz, so let it suffice to say that there are many forms and tactics of impression fraud as the fraud committers become increasingly sophisticated. That said, there are several companies dedicated to solving the problem with robust solutions to address different methods of fraud. 

Brand safety focuses on identifying areas which are not suitable for brand advertising. An impression may be real and viewable but if the ad ends up appearing next to inappropriate content such as adult material, hate speech, violence, etc. - it can lead to a disaster for a brand which invested years in building its public image.

4) Full Campaign Visibility
You should make sure that you get granular data and reporting that gives you full visibility into what affected the performance of your campaign: How many issues were detected? How were they distributed across your media partners? How many impressions were affected? How did it affect your overall campaign performance? Etc. 

It is also important to combine your display verification and video verification reporting. There are solutions on the market that offer one or the other, and solutions that do both. The advantage in combining both is streamlined operations and the benefit of utilizing display verification data in video verification and vice versa. The more historical data you use, the more accurate your detectionand thus protection, will be.

That said, reporting is only good at detecting the issues and giving you a backward look at things. This is good for understanding what happened and suggesting measures for future campaigns. 

5) Impression Blocking 
The best measure to ensure that issues will actually be prevented is to deny the delivery of the impression. Several techniques exist to do this:
  • Blacklists - A list of domains is created where your ads must not run.  Ads can run on any site that isn’t on the blacklist.
  • Whitelists - A list of domains is created where your ads may run.  Ads must not run on any site that isn’t on the whitelist.
  • Impression-level analysis - Inspecting each impression and determining whether it meets the advertiser’s specific criteria, including brand or message conflict, along with fraud, brand safety, and other requirements, and denying ad delivery when these criteria aren’t met for the specific impression.  
Many advertisers today use black and white lists. However, this is like throwing out an entire container of eggs because one is broken. Making a decision per impression is preferred to making a collective assumption that a domain is always safe or never safe as it ensures fewer bad ad impressions where something went wrong on a trusted site, and more good ad impressions on sites that otherwise might have been totally excluded with a less granular solution. 

6) Page Verification & Video Player Content Verification
It’s important to understand that online video appears on pages composed of two separate pieces - one being the video player where the video content and your video ad appear, and the second being the actual page that hosts the video player. Verification issues can happen both on the page and inside the video player, but most solutions on the market focus on detecting issues within the page only. Often times, the page content may be safe while the video content inside the video player is inappropriate for your brand. You must be able to detect BOTH issues related to the page and issues related to the video content itself. 

6 Steps to Video Campaign Recovery
Once you are over the hump of admitting that fraud and a general lack of visibility represent a threat to your digital campaigns, use this list of six key considerations as your guide to recovery. When the curtain is pulled aside to reveal an industry problem, many technology providers will race to offer proprietary solutions. Not all solutions are created equal, so find a solution that deals with each of these verification considerations for you so that you have the most complete capabilities possible.

About the Author

Ronnie Lavi, Innovid.jpg

Ronnie Lavi

Ronnie Lavi is vice president, product, at Innovid, a technology platform for delivering immersive video advertising anywhere. Ronnie is a digital advertising technology veteran with nearly a decade of product development and product marketing experience.



Digital Video In-Stream Metrics Released!

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If you are familiar with the story of the Tower of Babel, you’re aware of the potential power behind a commonly understood language. When everyone accepts definitions in the same way, the chance of confusion is eliminated and time can be spent more efficiently in progressing forward rather than having to consistently translate various interpretations. Digital Video In-Stream Metrics serve this exact purpose for buyers and sellers of digital video in-stream advertising, and have played an important role in maturing the industry and supporting its evolution. 

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Digital video is a fast moving marketing channel undergoing a large amount of innovation and technical functionality, so the industry will need to periodically review and revise standards to reflect the needs of current practice. The last update to the metrics was in 2008, so IAB convened a working group to modernize the metrics but we found during comment periods that there were some prevailing questions that we chose to address outside of the document. 

We hosted the webinar, Digital Video Metrics Modernized to provide an overview of the document and addressed those questions, and as an added layer of clarity we have outlined them in an FAQ. Ultimately, our goal is to enable growth in the industry. We do this by building and maintaining consensus around the use of these metrics and concepts so that buyers understand sellers and transparency is established.


FAQ Digital Video In-Stream Metric Definitions 

Why not combine the metric definitions with the Impression Measurement Guidelines?

IAB Impression Measurement Guidelines, which have been developed for display, mobile and digital video, describe technical details for how an ad impression should be counted in each of the specified contexts. Each of the Impression Measurement Guidelines documents is used in the industry to establish sound measurement practices for ad impressions. 

In contrast, the Digital Video In-Stream Metric Definition document, simply describe a baseline of interactive metrics that companies can voluntarily track in digital video. No technical guidelines are imposed for how each metric is measured, allowing companies make the best use of their technology while offering the Industry a common definition for select interactive digital video metrics.

Why isn’t viewability covered in the update to metric definitions for digital in-stream video?

Viewability in digital video is a more complex issue than simply defining a term. The 2014 Digital In-Stream Video Metric Definitions only defines a baseline set of interactive metrics that the industry can use as a common lexicon. However, establishing common measurement practices for determining whether an ad is in view requires a process that identifies and addresses technical and operational challenges. The Make Measurements Make Sense (3MS) initiative is leading the efforts toward more effective impression measurements. As a standard becomes adopted in the industry, these metric definitions may be updated to reflect relevant changes.

We serve video ads into 300x250 placements on websites. Why is this being excluded from the definition for digital video in-stream video ads?

The format of an ad does not make it a digital video in-stream video ad; the context into which the ad is served defines digital in-stream video ads. The technology for receiving and executing ads is different and requires different resources when the ad is served into a webpage and when served into a video player. Video ads that are served into a webpage are commonly known as in-banner video ads and are executed by the browser. Separately, ads served into a player are received and executed by the player—each of which may be built using proprietary code. Therefore, only ads served to a player (video or otherwise), constitute a digital in-stream video ad.

What constitutes a “player?”

In the context of digital in-stream video, a player is a browser-based computer program that executes videos, animation, or games that streams publisher content.

One advertising strategy we use is to stream short clips of content along with ads into a display placement on a publisher’s webpage. Our ads are played before, during, or after the content we serve, and they’re served into a player. Are our ads considered digital in-stream video ads?

If the content being streamed belongs to the same publisher that also owns the webpage content into which you are serving the clips and ads, then yes. For example, a news publisher may post several short news clips in the sidebar of their page. Ads served into these news clips are considered digital in-stream video ads.

However, if the content belongs to publishers other than the one who owns the page content, and especially if that content is served to a display ad placement on the page, the content is a form of advertising. In this case, the content, as well as the ads served with it, are being served to the webpage and classified as in-page, or in-banner video ads.

Is mobile covered in this metric definition update?

Ads served into browser-based players that stream publisher content are considered digital in-stream ads, regardless of the device in which they play. However, mobile devices present some challenges to tracking ad interactions. Native players in mobile devices are capable of playing content while offline and therefore lack the persistent connection required for communicating ad interactions in real time. For now, the 2014 Digital In-Stream Video Metric Definitions are restricted to the context of live streaming content. However, to the extent possible, these metric definitions may be applied to native digital players in mobile.

Are the ads we serve into games considered digital in-stream video ads?

Yes, game publishers may sell ad inventory that is served into their browser-based game players. Ads served into these players are considered digital in-stream video ads.


About the Author
Jessica Anderson
Jessica Anderson is Senior Manager of Advertising Technology at IAB. 






So Why Aren’t You Supporting SafeFrame?


Last year, IAB issued an industry-wide call to replace all iFrames used in digital advertising with SafeFrames. We did so, fully understanding the enormity of the work that would be required of publishers to re-tag an estimated 60% of the Internet—not a trivial task. SafeFrame is a new ad serving technology standard developed to enhance in-vivo communication between digital ads and the publisher pages where those ads are displayed, all while maintaining strict security controls.  As we approach the one year anniversary of SafeFrame’s release (March 19th) I think it’s fair to state that, while industry adoption is chugging along, it could be better. SafeFrame_Link_new.jpg

One notable early adopter of SafeFrame is Yahoo. Today a majority of Yahoo’s display advertising inventory is served in SafeFrames (that’s billions of impressions every day!) - and Yahoo is actively pushing towards a 100% deployment goal. To be fair to those still in the process of implementing SafeFrame, Yahoo co-led the industry initiative, along with Microsoft and IAB, to make SafeFrame an advertising standard. Nevertheless, to call Yahoo’s contribution to SafeFrame notable is really an understatement.

Since its release last year, a working group at IAB has been focused on tearing down barriers to SafeFrame adoption. The most cited of which has been the need for support by rich media vendors—an understandable barrier to those who comprehend the technical underpinnings of the digital supply chain. We realized early on that we were in a chicken-and-egg conundrum with respect to SafeFrame adoption—without dedicated support from rich media vendors, who package ad creative for trafficking across a variety of publisher sites, neither advertisers nor publishers would be particularly incented to adopt SafeFrame.

Yahoo stepped up to help the industry address the SafeFrame adoption challenge. Yahoo worked closely with top rich media vendors to get SafeFrame off the sidelines and into production environments globally. As a result of Yahoo’s leadership and efforts, 23 rich media vendors now support SafeFrame (see list of vendors.)

With this significant barrier removed, it’s time for those who have been on the sidelines to take action. And with Google’s update to DFP due to support SafeFrame in the first half of 2014, there should be no doubt that this new technology standard is here to stay.

Finally, what most people don’t know about SafeFrame: it’s not just about viewable impressions. Sure, SafeFrame provides publishers, marketers and third-party ad verification services a simple, transparent, standards-based and cost-free API for determining an ad’s viewability state. And with all the deserved attention 3MS (Making Measurement Make Sense) has brought to viewable this past year, it’s no wonder that folks have honed in on this key feature of SafeFrame. So, while SafeFrame helps to solve for viewability measurement, it can do so much more.  

Think of SafeFrame as an extensible technology platform that can be used to solve for many issues confronting our digital supply chain. To name a few, SafeFrame already supports programmatic sale of expanding rich media, sharing of metadata, enhanced consumer security and privacy controls, enhanced publisher security and the prevention of cookie bombing. With more SafeFrame features currently in the development pipeline, we see SafeFrame as a base standard that will be extended in ways we have yet to conceive. Simply stated, SafeFrame is the new container tag for digital advertising: it solves many of the digital supply chain issues we face today as digital advertisers and publishers, and is extensible to solve tomorrow’s problems too.

To learn more about why your company should be supporting SafeFrame, we’ve made it simple, with easy to understand educational materials for the marketplace, including an educational video, a feature comparison chart of ad trafficking methods, and an extensive FAQ.  

For questions involving SafeFrame or how to get involved with SafeFrame initiatives at IAB please reach out to Alan Turransky.


About the Author

chris_mejia

Chris Mejia, former Sr. Director of Ad Technology at IAB












The Fourth Quarter Countdown to Viewability

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Marketers love digital media, plain and simple. The digital platform gives marketers opportunities to create conversations and consumer relationships that heretofore were not possible. Brands are being built and results are being generated due to digital’s expansion within the marketing mix.

But marketers are also frustrated by the lack of “viewability”. In 2012, according to various sources, 1.8 trillion display ads were paid for, but could not be seen. We are close to realizing a material improvement to this fundamental issue: viewability. Yes, the viewable impression is nearly here. The Media Rating Council (MRC) expects to lift its Viewable Impression Advisory by the end of this year, and at that time marketers will eagerly start buying digital media on viewable metrics. Publishers and agencies, we hope you’re ready.

Marketers reportedly waste billions of dollars annually in display ads that are not viewable. ANA’s Board of Directors and the larger marketing community have demanded that viewability become the basis for digital currency and transactions. 

In February 2011, when ANA joined with IAB and the 4A’s to start the Making Measurement Make Sense initiative, we recognized a tremendous shortfall in digital spending productivity. We saw a substantial confidence gap in understanding the value of marketing investment in display and video advertising. We were horrified that the media that was “supposed to be the most accountable” was turning out to be the least accountable. With great anticipation, we are now just a few months away from resolving a significant driver of this dilemma.

The foundation of this excitement is the overdue shift from served impressions to viewable impressions. It gives marketers the assurance that consumers get to see the ad that they paid to place. Critically, it opens the opportunity for apples-to-apples cross-platform comparisons that will increase marketer confidence in the development of intelligent and capable multi-screen marketing plans. It provides marketers with the accountability they need to embrace digital more enthusiastically. There’s also a great benefit for publishers, agencies, and others that succeed in making the transformation to viewable, as they will become the preferred partners of these hungry marketers. The upside is enormous for all those that make the shift.  

We recognize, however, that the move to viewable is rattling many businesses to their cores. Publishers need to adopt SafeFrame to increase the proportion of their inventory that is measurable for viewability, and to adjust the very constitution of their operations to manage this important currency change.

We understand that the system will be imperfect. Refinement of viewable impression transactions will continue even after the MRC Advisory is lifted. For example, new complexities in discrepancy resolution will need to be explored and resolved

There is no turning back. The marketing community has waited too long and wasted too much money not to make the leap to viewable. We cannot be frozen by fear or perfectionism either. Without forward motion, we will undermine the advancements already established. We will also undercut future enhancements that will make digital media a more appealing brand-building investment for marketers.

The viewable impression will be the foundation of fundamental innovations such as the Digital GRP. Creating a GRP that is comparable to that in other media is crucial for the evolution of cross-platform analytics. Marketer’s inherent challenge to enhance integrated marketing would be dramatically reduced by a “common GRP.” This would facilitate improved decision-making and resolve cornerstone issues such as marketing mix modeling and media budgeting decisions. Combined with the growing use of the common coding power of Ad-ID, marketing measurement for publishers, agencies, and marketers would be turbocharged.

For the digital media industry, the only question is how fast we can implement these historic changes. The MRC is bounding onwards, completing the work needed to lift the advisory and continuing to guide us toward a more accountable media marketplace. For agencies, forward motion means being ready to rely on the clarity provided by these new metrics to advise and act in the best interests of marketers. For publishers, it means adopting SafeFrame now and being ready to satisfy marketer demand for viewable impression transactions by the end of the year. 

This is the age of accountability. If you’re ready to meet the demands of the day, you’ll be greatly rewarded. But if you’re not a participant, you’ll run the risk of being left on the sidelines. Let’s do this all together and move the industry decidedly forward. 

About the Author

bliodice.jpgBob Liodice

Bob Liodice is President and Chief Executive Officer, Association of National Advertisers






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