Archive for the ‘Advertising’ Category

Metrics 101: Viewability

October 24th, 2014 by Alexandra

As part of our larger efforts to help build an Attention Economy—in which success is measured not by clicks and pageviews but by time and audience attention earned—we’ve publicly released our Description of Methodology, which outlines the measurement process on which Chartbeat’s MRC accreditation is based.

Given that this document is a bit well, hefty, we figured we’d briefly explain a couple of our signature metrics here on the blog.

What is viewability?

A viewable impression is a metric of online advertising that indicates if a display ad is actually viewable when it’s served. More specifically, the IAB and MRC define a viewable impression as one that’s at least 50% visible for at least one second. To keep it simple, viewability is a metric that tracks if at least half of a display ad has the chance to be seen in the viewable portion of a browser window for at least one continuous second. Technically speaking, one second is measured as 10 consecutive 100 millisecond observations.

For the full scoop on viewability check out our 101 series:

  • What is Viewability?
  • What Does Viewability Mean for Publishers?
  • What Does Viewability Mean for Advertisers?

  • Viewability Metrics

    Chartbeat is accredited for the following viewability metrics:

    VIEWABLE IMPRESSION

    A count of the number of impressions that were deemed “viewable” under the MRC’s Viewable Impression Measurement Guidelines.

    Chartbeat Methodology: Every 100 milliseconds on in focus pages Chartbeat checks every ad tagged with Chartbeat’s “data-cb-ad-id” attribute to see if over 50% of the ad has entered the viewport (the viewable portion of your browser window). When the ad enters the viewport Chartbeat checks every 100 ms to ensure that it has remained on the screen and the window has stayed in focus. After ten consecutive successful checks (one continuous second), Chartbeat designates the impression as viewable.

    IMPRESSION BREAKDOWN

    The number of impressions that are considered non-viewable, standard, or premium

    NON-VIEWABLE AD IMPRESSION

    These represent served impressions where the viewable status is not met, but they can be “seen” by the viewable decisioning function.

    MEASURED RATE

    This is calculated as a percentage and represents (Viewable Impressions + Non-Viewable Impressions)/Total Served Impressions.

    VIEWABLE RATE

    This is calculated as a percentage and represents Viewable Impressions / (Viewable Impressions + Non-Viewable Impressions).

    Note: We are accredited for a few additional viewability metrics required by MRC’s Viewability Guidelines.


    What's the industry saying about viewability?

    Well, they are saying a lot. While opinions certainly vary, it seems the common consensus is that the new viewability standard is, at the very least, a step in the right direction:

    “I don’t believe that viewability is a performance metric at all, but is rather just a huge step up from the old ‘served’ impression metric that we have used for years. However, a focus on increasing viewability will result in greater performance on the major engagement metrics like Universal Interaction Rate and Click Through that marketers value highly. It is this increased performance that will eventually lead to higher CPMs.”

    - Jeff Burkett, Sr. Director Ad Innovation & Product Strategy at The Washington Post

    “The current viewability standard, while clearly nascent, serves an important purpose. It introduces a baseline criterion for and measure of accountability. At the end of the day, it is a means to a larger end: increased brand spend that better aligns with time spent online.”

    - Neeraj Kochar, Tremor Video

    “Viewability is a positive development. The industry is at a major crossroads as we’re dealing with a growing amount of traffic being non-human, which has created a polluted ecosystem. The viewable impression is one step in the process to help solve this problem. It’s becoming the anchor that will allow for engagement and exposure metrics to be used to evaluate campaigns and prove for brands the value of the impressions being served.”

    - Mark Howard, Chief Revenue Officer at Forbes

    “Unfortunately, it's going to take a while before viewability becomes a valid currency and is established as a key metrics in determining impression value. However, I do think that there is an opportunity for publishers to take advantage of this debate to maintain and increase premium rates as more media becomes traded programmatically.”

    - Peter Jones, The Guardian

    “Until now the ad impression was, essentially, a mechanical event — the creative file being loaded on the Web page. The viewability standard transforms an impression into an opportunity to see event: something of inherent value to a brand, just as in traditional media”

    - Yaakov Kimelfeld, chief research officer at Millward Brown Digital

    Chartbeat has become the first analytics company accredited to measure attention metrics for both display advertising and content. The Media Rating Council has accredited 21 of the metrics featured in Chartbeat’s advertising platform including viewability and active exposure time.

    80% of Publishers Interested in Transacting on Time: Digital Content Next Report

    October 22nd, 2014 by Alexandra

    Earlier today Digital Content Next, an organization representing over 50 premium publishers, released a study and special report outlining how digital publishers currently view and use time-based metrics and what their expectations are for the future.

    In the report DCN suggests that shifting to a measurement framework that incorporates time-based metrics would “align valuation of content and advertising with time and attention...and offers solutions to significant industry challenges.” Namely, time-based metrics take viewability a step further and create an inventory constraint and, as a result, an economy of scarcity in which attention is a true measure of quality content and effective advertising.

    The report, which consisted of in-depth qualitative interviews with nine leading publishers, including CNBC, ESPN, Gannett and Wall Street Journal, as well as a quantitative survey with 25 DCN member publishers, covers current usage of time-based metrics, both internally and as a sales tool, as well as attitudes on the future of time as a currency. Here are some of the key takeaways:

    1. Time metrics are commonly used to evaluate performance.

    90% of DCN members surveyed use time metrics to internally evaluate performance of their sites and content among editorial and/or ad operations teams.

    Publisher use of time-based metrics Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 2.29.14 PM

    2. Publishers are sharing time metrics with advertisers.

    85% of publishers using time-based metrics share these metrics with advertisers as proof of things such as audience engagement/attention, quality of content and audience loyalty.


    3. There is a real interest among premium publishers to transact on time.

    80% are already testing or express an interest in transacting on time.

    Publisher interest in transacting based on timeInterest in transacting on time

    4. Publishers believe there is potential for time to serve as currency.

    52% agree or strongly agree that transacting on time is the next evolutionary step of viewability implementation.

    Attitudes on the future of time as currency Attitudes on time as currency

    While a significant number of publishers are already using time metrics to gain insights about consumption patterns, adjust editorial cycles, and more accurately forecast ad inventory, many still see several hurdles to using time as currency. Among these, lack of standard metrics and measurement methodology, lack of research showing that time in view is correlated to ad effectiveness, lack of marketer and ad agency education and interest, and scope constraints were among the most common obstacles cited. Bottom line, time-based metrics are a big step in the right direction, but the road to a more sustainable media ecosystem will not be without challenges.

    So what’s next? As the buy side continues to grapple with the concept of viewability, publishers can continue pushing to integrate time measurement into their metrics suite. By better understanding their audiences and bringing the time dimension to ad unit measurement, publishers will be well positioned to prove the value of audience time spent with their content and introduce the time topic into conversations with the buy side.

    Read the full DCN report How Time-Based Measurement is Grabbing Digital Publishers’ Attention.

    Advertising Week Roundup

    October 7th, 2014 by Alexandra

    We heard about it on panels. We read about it online. We saw lots of folks talking about it on Twitter. What’s it, you ask? Time. Or more specifically, attention.

    Attention—as both as a metric and a currency—was a major theme at this year’s Advertising Week. The common consensus: The media ecosystem needs to reevaluate how it measures success. In a landscape of seemingly limitless content and infinite impressions, it’s time to shift the focus away from views and clicks and look instead at a finite resource: human attention.

    As Michael Sebastian noted in a must-read Ad Age feature, putting the focus on time rather than views is an attempt to create scarcity. And, in an economy of scarcity, quality better aligns with monetization. Those who are able to capture more attention, by creating quality content and creative, will be able to charge more for it.

    Jason Kint, CEO of Digital Content Next, mirrored this point in another great read about time-based measurement, saying “Time is a scarce resource (maybe the scarcest of all). It's the one thing the media-technical complex can't manufacture.” Certainly, he says “the measure of great content and brand marketing is the time, attention and emotion of consumers—not the click of the mouse or a tap of the finger. Yet as an industry, we've spent far too much energy running on a treadmill of ephemeral attention. It's time (for lack of a better word) to focus on what matters most: consumer attention.”

    Folks on the brand and agency side had a few things to say about attention too. For Erika White, corporate communications director at Pandora, capturing consumers means earning their attention over time. "This means adjusting the impression, reach-based marketing mentality that has informed much of advertising strategy in the past," she told Campaign. "Thinking beyond earning a single click or view and focusing on truly earning consumers' attention and engagement over time will be what winning marketers and communicators take away from this week.”

    The ways we define and measure ROI have evolved, noted Marla Kaplowitz, CEO, MEC North America. “Today’s ‘always-on’ consumers require brands to move at the pace of modern culture; to genuinely engage these consumers, a brand must be able to grab audience ‘attention’ — a valuable, yet challenging, currency,” she said.

    Lots of folks were talking about measuring and monetizing attention in the Twittersphere too:

    MRC Accredits 21 Chartbeat Metrics Including Viewability and Active Exposure Time

    September 29th, 2014 by Alex Carusillo

       
    mrc logo-01
      In summer 2013, we introduced our first advertising tool to help premium publishers monetize their audience’s attention. 15 months later, that one tool is now part of an expanded platform that provides media planning, reporting, and strategic services to premium publishers that want to measure and sell attention. Today we’re thrilled to announce that the Media Rating Council (the MRC) has accredited 21 of the metrics featured in our advertising platform. In the post below I explain what this accreditation means for Chartbeat and the larger attention economy.

    We got accredited!

    One of the stranger things about entering into ad tech for the first time is learning that all the stuff that made you successful elsewhere isn’t enough anymore. You can’t just build cool new technology or awesome interfaces. You can’t just have positive press. You can’t even just have people love what you do and pay to use it. Advertising is big and scary and impossibly competitive and the rules are just different and there are a lot more of them. While it’s been hard to find someone who thought the monetization of attention wasn’t worthwhile it has been even harder to find people who thought it was something they could actually do. No amount of desire alone can change the system - you need to change the structure first. And so that’s what we’ve started to do.

    This means we need to do more than just adding a new dashboard link to someone’s bookmarks or some vanity metric to someone’s spreadsheet. It means making a fundamental change to the way success on the internet is evaluated and rewarded, building an internet where our best instincts are also the right ones. And today - after nearly six months of sleepless detail work - I think we’re starting to get there. Because today I get to say that our metrics have been accredited by the Media Rating Council.

    So...what's the MRC?

    Like I said: the strangest thing about entering into ad tech is that it’s not clear what it takes to go from “neat service” to a world viable system. Pro-tip for those of you at home turns out the first step is passing a Media Rating Council audit.

    But who is this the Media Rating Council (MRC from here on out) and what are they about? The MRC is an industry body that audits and accredits internet measurements to ensure that they’re “valid, reliable, and effective.” There’s a whole lot of money flowing through the internet and there are a bunch of people with conflicting interests trying to say what portion of that rightfully belongs to them. The MRC exists to make sure that everyone is on equal footing and that people can trust the numbers they use. Without them you’ve got a bunch of conflicting and unreliable numbers that aren’t good for much more the decoration. With them you’ve got reliable metrics you can build businesses on. And now Chartbeat metrics can be counted among those reliable metrics.

       
    Chartbeat MRG
       

    What does accreditation change right now?

    So what does that mean? Well, it means we get to put a new logo on our homepage and talk about our “twenty-one accredited metrics that go beyond just viewability” but more importantly it means that this “Attention Web” we talk so much about can turn into an Attention Economy. We’ve been driving this idea for a couple years now -- we’ve always believed that the click and the impression are not the way advertisers should value content. It just doesn’t make sense. A heady piece on global policy in the Financial Times is just a fundamentally better opportunity for an advertiser (and for the internet in general) than one on some clickbait blog. It just is.

    You can trust science, the market, or just common sense, but no matter which way you look at it you end with high quality writing being worth more than low quality stuff.

    But before this accreditation came through it didn’t matter how much you believed in that “attention is valuable” story because you still couldn’t sell it.

    That time is over.

    At its narrowest interpretation, Chartbeat’s MRC accreditation means premium publishers, advertisers and agencies can now use attention as a currency. But a whole new internet economy isn’t far away if attention is a fundamentally valuable thing on the internet – and Chartbeat gets to be at least partially responsible for that.

    What’s next?

    Here’s the cool part though - this isn’t just about money and sales teams getting higher CPMs. This isn’t even really about advertising.

    It’s about a better internet - the one we were promised from the start.

    This accreditation gives us the ability to express our core idea that the quality of website experience is, above all, universal. We’re getting closer to building a world where measurement arises from an ad experience’s purpose and not what was easy to track (clicks). Where the business side and the editorial side of a company believe the readers comes first. Where the the quality of a publication’s content sustains its business, not the number of people who click an ad near that creation. That’s a pretty cool world. And that’s the success we wanted all along.   Check out the Chartbeat Ads Platform for yourself

    What Does Viewability Mean for Advertisers?

    August 29th, 2014 by Alexandra

    This is the third post in a series about online advertising measurement and methodologies. Feel free to email me or post in the comments section about topics you’d like to see covered in this series. Curious about Chartbeat advertising tools? Learn more here.

    In the last post, we took a look at what viewability means for publishers. Now, we’re turning the tables and breaking down what viewability means for advertisers.

    So, how are digital advertisers responding to the MRC’s viewability certification?

    Similar to publishers, digital advertisers have started turning to viewability vendors to audit campaigns and measure the viewability of their ads. This process gives brand marketers and agencies the opportunity to monitor whether their ads have the chance to be seen and to differentiate between quality/value of ad placements. In short, viewability offers advertisers a new level of transparency that will, in effect, set new standards to which media vendors will be held.

    And with that new transparency come new terms and conditions. For example, we’re slowly starting to see agencies build viewability percentage goals or viewable impression guarantees as line items in their requests for proposals (RFPs). This means that prior to advertisers signing any contracts, media sellers will either agree to optimize an advertiser’s campaign toward a certain (goal) viewability percentage, or they will guarantee a mutually agreed upon viewability percentage. Sellers will be expected to deliver on said targets in order to receive payment in full.

    On a larger scale, viewability is forcing marketers to rethink their approaches to media buying. For some, that may mean rolling out a campaign and then only paying for ads that were in view. For others it may mean doing a “controlled” buy beforehand to only serve ads that are in view. As we mentioned in the previous post, publishers and advertisers are still trying to find middle ground here. That said, larger companies like Google and Yahoo!, as well as a few smaller networks, are already allowing advertisers to pay only for viewable ads. Whether that will be the go-to model moving forward is still uncertain. We’ll have more on this topic later in our series.

    How are advertisers using viewability to their advantage?

    Advertisers’ ability to measure and monitor viewability will potentially have significant impact on their business as a whole. As we see it, there are a few game changers:
    1. Viewable brand lift will become a real-time metric of success. On the brand marketing side, advertisers will be able to start identifying which elements increase viewability and impact, and make changes while a campaign is still running. A recent Nielsen study found that brand lift improved by 31% when responses from non-viewable ads were filtered out. Beyond seeing which ads were viewable, advertisers will be able to gain a better sense of which viewable ads resonated with their audience(s) and take those learnings to optimize future campaigns.
    2. Improving viewability will improve campaign results for advertisers. It’s not surprising that eliminating non-viewable ads (those not able to be seen by a visitor) from the equation would be a win for advertisers.  Kellogg’s, for example, found that improving viewability by 40% resulted in a 75% increase in the sales lift of a digital campaign. Receiving real-time ad viewability data—that enabled Kellogg’s to stop buying ads that nobody was seeing—had a significant impact on the company’s ROI.

    By eliminating non-viewable ads from the picture, advertisers will be able to allocate more, if not all, of their campaigns to premium content sites. Let’s break it down: As I mentioned in my last post, viewability will allow sites that offer quality content and user experiences to stand out from those that do not. If we link viewability to page quality, publishers seeking to increase viewability will likely improve—if they haven’t already—the quality of their sites by making adjustments to page layouts, ad quantity and type. As site quality increases, engagement will likely increase as well, making certain pages and audiences become more valuable to advertisers. Conversely, the bad-actors (pages cluttered with ads, link-bait content) will find their inventory becoming less and less valuable to the market. Advertisers will be able to compare the performance of their campaigns across publishers, and will ultimately choose to buy ads on sites that offer both quality content and a quality audience.

    In short, more transparency will lead to more informed ad buys, and theoretically, less wasted ad spend. When demand-side platforms (DSPs) optimize for viewable ads, thus taking non-viewable ads out of the equation, ad dollars will deliver more ROI.

    What challenges are advertisers facing during this transition?

    First, there is the obstacle of an impression being viewable versus being actually viewed. If you’ll recall, the IAB defines a viewable impression as one that’s at least 50% visible in the viewable portion of a person’s browser window for at least one second. So, technically, viewability tracks if an ad has a chance to be seen by a user, not if it actually was. Yes, an ad may have been served, but that doesn’t mean it was seen. Think, for a second, how many times you’ve done a quick scan of a page and completely missed an ad.

    Note: It’s important to remember that measuring viewability is no easy feat. And while viewability may have a number of blind spots, it’s better than anything we’ve had before. Short of something (pretty crazy) like eye-tracking, viewability does do a solid job of helping to call out the bad stuff, read: non-viewable ads, link-bait content and poor quality, ad-heavy user experiences.

    Second, as with publishers, many of the challenges advertisers are facing are due to the binary natures of a viewable impression. Specifically, viewability on its own does not offer a comprehensive measurement of impact or brand lift. A simple “viewable or not” fails to fully measure the effectiveness of an impression, as it doesn’t offer a nuanced view of the extent to which an ad resonated with an audience. In other words, viewability does not take into account that the amount of time beyond one second in view improves response rates. We’ll take a deeper dive into Active Exposure Time—measuring the amount of time an actively engaged audience is exposed to a display ad—and how it impacts brand recall later in the series. If you’re dying to know more now, check out this post by our chief data scientist Josh Schwartz.

    And finally, the discrepancies in measurements between viewability vendors will create a few obstacles for advertisers as well. Remember how we said publishers may not get paid for ads that one vendor says aren’t viewable, even when another gave the thumbs up? Well, the same goes for advertisers, except they may end up paying for ads that nobody ever sees. Sound familiar? This isn’t the first time advertisers are facing this problem. More on the nitty-gritty mechanics of viewability measurements to come. Stay tuned...

    Also in Our Series: