IAB to review viewability standards after GroupM deal

The Interactive Advertising Bureau of Australia is looking to conduct a local market study to determine whether its standards around digital ad viewability need to be adjusted.

IAB Aust

The move follows an announcement by GroupM this week that it signed a deal with major publishers guaranteeing display and video ads will be 100 per cent in view on key placements, or the advertiser will not pay.

The IAB’s current global standards for viewability, which determines what percentage of an ad must be visible in order to be counted as a view, is 50 per cent for at least one second for display ads and 50 per cent for at least two seconds for video.

Nine publishers have signed up to GroupM’s agreement: Fairfax Media, News Digital, Yahoo, Ninemsn, The Guardian, Mamamia, MCN, Inmobi and Carsguide.

The media agency will partner with market analytics platform Moat to track viewability, as well as brand safety and ad fraud.

Chief digital officer John Miskelly said GroupM’s goal was to ensure the best digital advertising for its agencies’ clients.

IAB Australia chief executive Alice Manners was positive about the agreement but said there could be technological constraints that would make it difficult for the advertising industry as a whole to trade on viewability at this point.

She said an example could be if a publisher and agency utilised technologies that measured viewability differently, or if a company’s technology was unable to capture every single impression.

“What we’re looking at doing is a local market test to just get a feel where the market is and then we can update those (viewability) guidelines around it,” she said.

The IAB would assess the possible impact on digital revenue following the local market study.

Both Fairfax Media and News Corp Australia declined to comment on GroupM’s announcement. Media Federation of Australia chief executive Sophie Madden was unavailable for comment.

Fusion Strategy managing director Steve Allen said the 100 per cent viewability agreement had been a long time coming and expected it to be readily followed by other agencies.

“Really advertisers and their media agencies should be demanding more transparency about how ads have the potential to be seen,” he said.

“If one of our clients sold a kilo of something and they delivered 900 grams, do you think they’d get away with it?”

“If one of our clients sold a kilo of something and they delivered 900 grams, do you think they’d get away with it?”

Mr Allen does not believe the move towards greater viewability rates will provide an increase in digital revenues for publishers, but it will make those revenues “more accountable and more transparent”.

The GroupM viewability deal in Australia follows a similar position taken by firm in the US.

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