#OPSPOV: Real-Time Viewability Gets Real

Real-Time Viewability Gets Real

Am I the only one who thinks it’s weird that viewability is a post-campaign metric? We can target ads based on HTML cookies in real-time, why can’t we determine whether the impression associated with that cookie is also in view, or at least has a high chance of being in view?

Well, according to CEO Brad Krassner, RealVu does offer publishers the ability to serve a viewable ad only when the space is in view. When the ad call goes to the server, RealVu’s on-page code informs the server which ad spaces are in viewable sections of the screen. Spaces that are not viewableat the time of the call are ordered to serve plain-old impressions with no viewability requirements. 

While previously this technology was available to publishers on the RealVu Exchange, recently launched RealVu Boost brings real-time viewability forecasting and optimization to publisher direct sales teams and guaranteed campaigns. While viewability campaign measurement is done through tags, RealVu Boost is actually page-level code that evaluates ad space before the server is reached.

“If you sell impressions and you sell views, it’s been impossible to get a clear-cut schedule of when to serve a viewable ad and when to you serve an impression,” Krassner says. “That’s where it turns into a nightmare for ad ops. They can forecast how many views they have to sell by using comScore or Moat to do a site-wide analysis, but the problem is when do they deliver them.”

While many of the accredited providers in the viewability space have their roots in verification, RealVu is a bit different. The first MRC accredited viewability product, RealVu has been on the viewability bandwagon for six years now, and even has a patent for its Content Rendering Control technology. 

The company operates an exchange, selling publisher’s unsold inventory on an RTB basis – in-view impressions go for a higher rate, out-of-view impressions lower. But now in conjunction with operating management system FatTail, RealVu Boost offers this real-time control for publisher’s direct sales efforts, along with flexibility in execution to work with technologies like lazy loading.

And such optimization capability is what’s really needed to make 100% viewability guarantees palatable for publishers – while keeping prices reasonable for the buyers.

100%? 100%!

I had recently finished a crash course in guaranteeing against demographics (and the trouble balancing such guarantees with video viewability demands) when I heard the viewability shot across the bow: GroupM’s infamous letter demanding their publisher partners agree to 100% viewability campaigns.

At that time I thought the buy and sell sides were coming to terms with viewability benchmarks – say 70% of a campaign in-view. Though service providers heed to the same standard and the MRC has tried to reign in measurement discrepancies through reconciliation, varying methodologies among a large group of vendors make for large divides in reporting. Then there’s dark viewability, in which the service provider simply doesn’t count all the impressions, viewable or not. 

Even the IAB agreed that 100% viewability is really not technically feasible at this point due to the reasons mentioned. Still several publishers like Conde Nast inked 100% viewability deals while more buyers join the cry for 100% viewability all the time.

By demanding 100% viewable inventory, advertisers are pushing something akin to the linear buy model: pay only for the impressions recorded as in-demo (or in this case, in-view). In digital video, this makes for a great deal of wasted inventory (or “extended reach,” as the buyers call it) because at the moment demos can’t be targeted in real time. So publishers try to optimize their serving through buying third-party demo data, mining information from first-party data or using ad server technology.

However, real-time viewability measurement is a reality. If buyers do want to buy on a 100% viewable basis, publishers can meet their demands while preserving inventory through real-time optimization technologies like RealVu Boost.

“There’s no reason why you can’t do 100% viewability buys,” Krassner comments.