opinion

Traffic Circles: New Approach for Ad Viewability

Chris Coupland

Ad serving technology is continuously evolving. Recently, the concept of viewability has been a very hot topic amongst companies and individuals in digital advertising. It comes down to a simple question, what is the value of ads that never get viewed? The answer: there is none.

Yet advertisers are being charged for them, and large ad networks still measure themselves by the total number of impressions they are serving. Have you ever wondered how many ads actually get viewed? Surprisingly, less than half.

CPMv helps level the playing field. Everybody wins. Advertisers see higher ROI from the higher quality traffic, and publishers get paid for eyeballs seeing ads.

According to comScore, 54 percent of display ads are not even seen. Fortunately, common sense is beginning to prevail. In June 2014, the MRC (Media Rating Council) and the IAB (Internet Advertising Bureau) finalized a standard for ad viewability, and thankfully for many, it is gaining traction very quickly.

CPMv — What Is It?

An extension of the ubiquitous term, CPM, CPMv stands for: cost per thousand viewable impressions. A display ad impression is considered viewable when a minimum of 50 percent of the pixels within a banner are on “an in-focus browser tab on the viewable space of the browser page” (visible within the viewport) for at least one uninterrupted second, after the ad has rendered.

Viewable vs. Served Impressions

Most people buying ads on a CPM basis are used to paying for served impressions. This is like buying ads in a newspaper. You pay for it whether people see the ad or not. Technology has come a long way in recent years and we can now measure viewability.

We can’t tell if someone actually saw the ad or not, but at least we know that they had the opportunity. It could easily be argued that it’s not very fair to charge someone money for something they never received. Measuring by served impressions waters down the value of all impressions. CPMv is all about fairness and common sense.


CPM vs. CPC vs. CPMv

CPM (cost per thousand impressions) is great for publishers. They get paid for ad impressions regardless of quality. CPC (cost per click) is great for advertisers, but it’s easy for publishers to get taken advantage of.

CPMv helps level the playing field. Everybody wins. Advertisers see higher ROI from the higher quality traffic, and publishers get paid for eyeballs seeing ads.

Viewable advertising has already been embraced by many major companies, including Google and Facebook. This is the model that we have adopted at Adnium.com. We expect to see a lot of movement towards viewable ads and the CPMv pricing model as other conscientious ad networks begin to embrace the new standard.

Chris Coupland, who has worked in the adult entertainment industry for 15 years, helms the Adnium advertising network as its director of operations. He has been with Grand Slam Media for more than three years.

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