Adrian D’Souza: October 2011 Archives

A Prelude to Friction Filled Conversations - an Ad Ops POV

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With the IAB Annual Ad Ops Summit on November 7th approaching, I wanted to share some thoughts on Ad Verification and Viewable Impressions for GRP that I’ve been hearing from the Ad Operations community at large this year. These are my personal views and not necessarily those of my employer, but many of these topics will continue to be strongly debated at the conference, so I urge you to attend and participate in the conversation.

A key endeavor from the Ad Ops Council has been to validate online advertising as a creditable medium for brand advertisers. In my mind, that translates to accuracy and transparency for the media we sell. The more accuracy and transparency we deliver, the more we help the trend of moving dollars to digital media. So on the face of it, verification services should be a shoo-in as one of the more important initiatives for our community. Why is it then, depending on if I’m talking to the buy side or sell side, I get equally strong but divergent opinions?


The buy side’s opinion is clear - we sometimes do not get what we bought on our IO, therefore, it is critical we get that extra set of reporting which allows us to identify issues with campaigns so we can actually deliver for our advertisers what their media dollars are intended to buy. The sell side vehemently agrees that everyone should be striving to give advertisers and agencies exactly what their dollars are being spent against. The area they cannot seem to accept is the need for stand alone verification services, especially in the absence of standards that dictate how to verify exactly who is right and who is wrong. The good news is, those standards are about to be released. It now boils down to getting the buy and sell side to agree on how best to implement those standards to move more dollars online. Hopefully we can make some progress on the IAB Ad Ops Summit panel I am hosting on verification tension.

Speaking of moving dollars online, another hot topic at the summit this year is using viewable impressions as a building block for online GRPs. Wait you say, why would an online GRP cause angst when the whole purpose is to create a transitional metric that allows traditional media buyers to plan, buy and measure against metrics they understand? Once again, folks all agree on the objectives and end goal, but we seem to strongly have different opinions on how to get there. The main area of passion (and not in a good way) is viewable impressions. The research community says “we need a viewable impression to build an online GRP and the current impression standard was not designed to precisely measure viewability.” The ops community says, “who says our current impression is not viewable, how much data do we have across multiple properties to show that the current impression standard is not working?” And, “do we really want to wait for years to fix the impression standard (if it is broken) while there is such an urgent need to publish an online GRP that will move traditional media dollars online?”

While I certainly do not have all the answers, I will learn a lot more on November 7th when my esteemed co-chair of the IAB Ad Ops Council, Dan Murphy, SVP of Research at Univision Online, sits on two relevant panels. I know he will be stirring the pot…

About the Author

Adrian D’Souza

Adrian D’Souza is co-chair of the IAB Ad Ops Council and Director, Media Revenue Operations at Google.