Leading Operations Online

Theorem’s 2015 survey of viewability trends, conducted for InSkin Media, show that challenges in measurement abound on both sides of the Atlantic. We asked Theorem VP of Digital Strategy Dominic Finney about differences in viewability between North America and Europe, how publishers can avert the effects of divergent measurement methods between viewability providers, and how the industry moves past viewability into qualifying engagement.

GD: I noticed in your report there seem to be a lot of people who are not happy with the current viewability standard. What in particular do you think is lacking?

DF: I think there are two fundamentals. Firstly, they’re okay with the standard as a starting point. The standard benchmark in the UK and Europe is at 50% pixels in view, and it’s very focused on standard display. That’s quite a...

As the ultimate destination for advertising and interface for users, digital publishers have long borne the responsibility of preventing malvertising and other nasty business from sneaking through. However, quality control is imperative for all the players in the advertising chain – and in the last few years, exchanges and p have begun to pick up the slack. 

The Media Trust CEO Chris Olson expounds on growing ecosystem-wide diligence (as well as where it’s still lacking) as well as the current state of ad quality and how user experience concerns are changing the entire digital advertising industry.

GAVIN DUNAWAY: What does ad quality mean in 2016, and how has it really changed in the past couple years? 

CHRIS OLSON: Ad quality is one important component of how user experience is faring. From The Media Trust’s perspective, ad – as well as site and app – quality is made up of four components: security; performance; first-party data control, privacy and compliance; and the “visual” experience....

The challenge for digital publishers, in a nutshell: Keep your business profitable enough to continue producing quality content, via an ad-supported model... while acknowleding users' awareness of, and frequent resistance to, being advertised to... while also confronting advertisers' increasing hesitancy to pay for any ad space users can't see easily... without getting in the way of users' ability to consume the content they want.

Running that obstacle course, any chance publishers have to solve more than one of those problems at once is probably worth pursuing. And for Corbis, a company known to many publishers for its extensive image licensing services, there's real promise in allowing its publisher partners to gain revenue through in-image advertising. Corbis partnered with NetSeer, using NetSeer's technology to deliver...

When the iPhone App Store opened its metaphorical doors in 2008, it signaled a dawning age for digital media. Applications were by no means a new phenomenon – the majority of software on laptops, smartphones, tablets and other connected devices are applications. 

But accessing online media through an application other than a browser was a bold move forward, offering content providers a more intimate and appropriate medium for reaching their audiences on the most personal of devices. It also proved a great channel for a variety of up-and-coming providers offering gaming (many times social) and utilities/services (with location data proving a key advantage).

Hence, Apple establishing a marketplace to manage third-party applications showed that the app was a force to be reckoned with in the burgeoning world of smartphones and other mobile devices. By the end of January 2011, more than 10 billion apps had been downloaded from the store. As of June 2015, that number had reached 100 billion – and that’s just for a single mobile...

In “15 Million Merits” – my favorite episode from the contemporary “Twilight Zone”-esque anthology, “Black Mirror” – our dystopian future protagonist lies in his cubicle-like bedroom with no walls, but a giant video screen that also serves as a wall. After a long day of riding a stationary bike at the office (yeah, you gotta watch it to understand), he indifferently watches reality shows, casually skipping commercials – typically for a porn channel – by paying a small fee.

When our hero runs low on funds and can no longer skip ads, he tries to avert his eyes from the screen only to set off an alarm – a voice barks that watching the advertisement is mandatory. (How’s that for ensuring viewability?)

Paying to remove advertising is a trend gaining steam – take Hulu’s ad-free subscription model for starters. Lack of advertising is such a...

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