Viewability in online video advertising is an interesting metric. Some would argue that its necessary to have a metric designed to assure advertisers that the ad they’re delivering to a particular viewer on a particular site was indeed “viewable” to that viewer. It’s a way to fight fraud and other less-than-savory practices that do nothing but keep those CPMs down. Others would counter that viewability is a metric designed for display ads, and not something translates all that well to video advertising, which is more comparable to television — where viewability isn’t really an issue.
That said, viewability has grown in prominence within the video ad space, with top ad tech providers such as Adap.tv and BrightRoll, among many, many others, offering solutions related to the metric. Comscore has also put a lot of time and money into making viewable impressions a standard within the industry, as has IAB’s “Making Measurement Make Sense” initiative (so the metric probably isn’t going anywhere anytime soon).
This is great news for VideoHub, Tremor Video’s proprietary digital video ad-serving and analytics product. Not saying that it was a race among the video ad-tech guys, but if it was, it looks like VideoHub has won — or at least crossed the finish line first at this stage of the race to bring more ad spend to digital video.
VideoHub is the first ad-tech system to receive Media Rating Council accreditation specifically for its ability to measure video ad viewability. (Note: The MRC has accredited several organizations, including Google, for viewability in the display ad sense. VideoHub is the first to get it for video ads, which is what the title of this post is referring to.)
The MRC is a non-profit group of television, radio, print and online companies, as well as advertisers, agencies and trade associations, set up in 1964 to validate the effectiveness of various measurement services and tools. If you’re an ad-tech company, and your product is accredited by the MRC, it makes the sales pitch at least a little bit easier.
VideoHub’s Average Viewability Percentage metric, which is available via its VideoHub for Advertisers enterprise solution, as well as four other digital video ad metrics, have received this stamp of approval from the MRC. It means, officially, the five VideoHub metrics as well as the company’s procedures align with MRC’s Minimum Standards for Ratings Research as well as other applicable, industry-accepted measurement guidelines issued by the IAB.
The Average Viewability Percentage metric is available for ads that appear in video players containing IAB’s VPAID tags. VideoHub says the metric “represents the average percentage of the video ad that is viewable on the browser screen, as measured at specifically defined time intervals during the video play event.” VideoHub’s technology can measure browser size, the portion of the browser page that is in view, the video player’s position on the browser page and the video player’s size (in other words, it’s applicable for pre-rolls, mid-rolls and post-rolls). VideoHub also filters for fraudulent and “non-human” activity.
The other four accredited metrics are as follows:
- Engagement Rate: For interactive ad units, this metric measures when a user either clicks on an interactive button or feature within the ad unit (to see additional videos, etc.) or rolls over a trigger on the ad unit for at least three seconds.
- Clicks: Measures when a user clicks on a video ad while it’s playing. The metric follows IAB’s Click Measurement Guidelines, with a focus on only measuring “intentional activity among consumers and not fraudulent activity by robots or spiders.”
- Served Digital Video Impressions: Measures served impressions based on IAB’s Digital Video Ad Measurement Guidelines. VideoHub says this means impressions are counted only after the video stream has begun, post-buffering, while also filtering out fraudulent activity.
- Unique Cookies Reach: A filtered count of unique cookies representing unduplicated “instances of access to video ads during a measurement period.” In other words, an unduplicated count of video ad views.
Put all five metrics together and VideoHub is well-positioned to provide advertisers with “a common baseline” for measuring the effectiveness of their video ad campaigns, according to VideoHub general manager Anthony Risicato.
Other video ad-tech providers will probably follow suit with their own MRC accreditations, which is good news for those backing viewability as the industry standard for video measurement. Though it’s unlikely to be enough to end the debate on whether it should be.