February 7, 2013

What makes an impression really an impression?

Doesn’t seem fair for an advertiser to pay for an ad that wasn't viewable, now does it?

For as long as I’ve been in the business of planning and purchasing digital media, we have been buying display ads by impressions served. That means that when the server serving up the banner ad to the site records that an impression has been served, it is counted as an impression. When you buy display ads, oftentimes you pay by impression, and part of my job is to ensure my client’s ad has received the number of impressions I have purchased.

Now that we have so many ways to measure digital media buys, we find that not all “served” impressions are actually “viewable” impressions. Meaning, even though the server technically served up a banner ad, the failure of the ad to actually fully load has made it non-viewable. Doesn’t seem fair for an advertiser to pay for an ad that wasn’t viewable, now does it?

That’s why back in July 2012, the Association of National Advertisers, the American Association of Advertising Agencies and the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) held a summit to discuss critical issues facing the digital media world. One of the hot topics was the demand for “viewable” impressions. The IAB wants to change the standard from “served impressions” to “viewable impressions,” eliminating the over-counting of impressions. More and more digital buyers will be asking for proposals from vendors based on “viewable” impressions to ensure their clients get what they pay for.

We here at AB&C are joining the fight. Are you?