Oct 18 2016
Basis Technologies

Optimizing to Viewability: Fact and Fiction


Viewability has remained a hot topic for publishers, agencies, and marketers alike. The debates around measurement standards, challenges with mobile and video, and transaction models tend to dominate the conversation. Advertising campaigns cannot simply pause and wait for consensus while the issues are being sorted through, and campaign managers desperately need practical tactics to optimize campaigns and achieve viewability goals in the meantime.

With Centro DSP, we have the benefit of looking at data at a macro level, and our operations team noticed some interesting points while examining targeting and viewability results.

Let’s take a look:

  1. According to measurement data from our partner Pixalate, campaigns targeting high and top-tier settings (from comScore vCE and Peer39) generated 3-4 times higher viewability percentages compared to low and bottom tier settings. While that might seem like common sense to the average marketer, seasoned users of DSPs have come to learn that expected outcomes are not always so reliable.
  2. Invalid traffic can increase on campaigns with high viewability percentages. So, bots can in fact be viewable. Also, since viewable impressions are more valuable, there is added incentive for bad behavior. Luckily, Centro DSP has robust fraud protection in place to filter out those sources on your behalf.
  3. Above the fold (ATF) inventory, one of the classic targeting strategies for viewability campaigns, is not guaranteed viewable, but the correlation between ATF and viewability is tenuous when you analyze the numbers. How is that possible? Remember: Viewability is not only pixels in view, but also time spent. A 728x90 ad at the top of a web page may be scrolled past instantly, or perhaps ads in a photo stream don’t have an opportunity to load before the next click.
  4. Don’t discount below the fold (BTF) inventory. Many publishers have implemented lazy loading or sticky placements to ensure ads have an opportunity to be seen.
  5. Monitor viewability by domain as well as ad size. Performance can vary wildly on the same site depending on the ad unit. As with any programmatic campaign, keeping a close eye on reporting in every dimension is key.

Viewability is a challenge for buyers and sellers. Don’t just take our advice. Test, learn and let the data drive your decisions.

For more information on DSP technology or on Centro DSP, visit our website.