Along with Angelina Eng of Merkle and Mindshare's Jon Hsia, Mitch Weinstein of IPG Mediabrands and Magna Global will be taking part in a thoughtful and compelling discussion on viewability at Seller Forum tomorrow in New York. The event's been sold out for some time, but here you can read some of Mitch's thoughts and perhaps expand your own views on the issue.
Mitch, you're deeply involved in the viewability discussion. Is it really all that contentious or does it just look that way online?
I wouldn't say it's contentious. But rather it's an important conversation we are having with media partners, where we all have the same goals and are trying to get to the same place - better quality inventory for all of digital media. The bottom line is we are looking to achieve the highest level of success for our clients, and the only way we can do this is by working together ...it's just that in some cases we have different ideas of the timing involved. But overall, we're making very good progress.
If you were explaining the ruckus to your 85-year-old aunt at a family gathering, how might you sum it up?
"You know those ads you see on the internet? No, not those annoying pop-up ads - we haven't run those since 1999...the ads that show up next to news articles and content, and sometimes run before those YouTube cooking videos you like....Well, we only want to pay websites when those ads are seen, and we don't want to pay for the ads that are hidden in the areas of the screen you never visit. Makes sense, right? Pass the Jello mold."
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One thing everyone seems to agree on is that guaranteeing 100% viewability on a given campaign is, for now, technically impossible. True?
Completely False. If a publisher can guarantee that 70% of the impressions we're buying are viewable, why can't they simply guarantee that all of my impressions will be viewable? They can sell us fewer impressions - that's ok. But what they sell us has to be viewable. Publishers will have to recalibrate how they sell, and start including only what they know they can deliver as viewable on each IO. This shouldn't be a problem if the publisher has been doing their due diligence and testing with different viewability vendors on all of their inventory. 3MS (Making Measurement Make Sense) was launched in 2011, so there has been ample time to test. Overall, it's a shift in mindset and process more than it is a technical issue.
So does it come down to just paying for the impressions that are viewable? That seems simple, right?
Yes, that's exactly it. We completely understand that not every impression will be viewable, totally get that. However, we only want to pay for those impressions that are viewable. And by the way, we will rely on your chosen measurement vendor to tell us what is viewable and what is not, which will eliminate the entire issue of discrepancies. That should make things easier....
We don't want this whole interview to be just about one issue. What else is obsessing you these days?
We are focusing heavily on dynamic ad serving, and using external triggers (e.g. weather) to determine which version of an ad to run. Basically, a customized message each time the ad serves. It's a straightforward concept, but very complex to deliver effectively since it involves a combination of efforts between media, creative, ad tech, analytics, and data. But it's proven to be very effective in driving performance, so we are devoting a lot of resources to it.
Fill in the blank: "If media sellers only understood _____ they'd end up doing a lot more business with agencies like mine."
"...how important good quality, brand-safe, viewable inventory is to our clients"
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