What’s the Secret to TV Advertising…70% Is

At the Advertising Research Foundation, @JoshChasin and @BillHarvey are imparting golden nuggets: the cleaning of big data will be foundational to analysis and modeling.

But some of the most ground-breaking studies in advertising at the ARF continue to come from the Chief Research Officer at CBS Television, David Poltrack.

For advertising research Ph.D.’s and research wonks, he may be the most interesting man in the world.

In 2013, his study presented at the ARF concluded that 70% of TV advertising’s impact comes from creative. Yes, creative. If your ROI on TV stinks, the odds are 70% it’s the creative. If the ROI on TV is amazing, the odds are 70% it’s the creative. In other words, if your TV’s not working…it’s the creative, not the TV.

In 2017, Poltrack’s doing it again: from his study of 863 cross-media TV + digital campaigns, for the top 60% of campaigns, TV = 70% reach and Digital = 6% reach (an 11.7X difference).

“2013’s study from Poltrack doesn’t get the credit it deserves,” said C3 Metrics advertising attribution measurement Co-Founder, Mark Hughes. “When you think about it, what you put in front of people in that 30, 60, or 120 second TV commerical makes all the difference in the world. Poltrack quantified 70% of TV’s ROI comes from creative..which includes call to action, messaging, sight & sound. We see it every day with most clients running 6-7 TV creatives which we can quantify down to the penny for ROI performance.”

With Poltrack’s 2017 ARF study, it’s no wonder that Facebook is now spending nearly 2/3 of its own advertising dollars on TV, according to Craig Jaffe and Kantar Media.

Add to this, a long list of pure play Internet retailers spending the lion’s share of their ad dollars on TV: Zulilly, Amazon, AdoreMe, TripAdvisor, Ancestry.com, EHarmony, Esurance, Overstock.com, Angieslist, Priceline, Legalzoom.com, FreeCreditScore.Com. The list goes on.
A short while ago, we may have predicted the death of TV, but 90% of video viewing is still happens on linear TV. comScore’s June 2017 study indicates that cord cutters are watching far less video in general and tend to be lower income.

“With modern measurement, the pendulum is swinging back for TV with an 11.7x reach advantage. But because TV’s ultimate success or failure rests on creative which can now be measured to the penny, advertisers should be producing far more creative executions than imagined because that’s where the ROI is,” said Mark Hughes of C3 Metrics.

What’s the Difference Between MMM & MTA?

Why are simple explanations always the best?

Turns out… it’s the best way to build your foundation of understanding and knowledge.

The remarkable thing about AdTech, Digital Marketing and Measurement: We love long explanations with a heavy dose of acronyms. (yawn!!)

 

Learn More about MMM, MTA and even UMM with the new C3 Metrics Scorecard. Click ‘See Scorecard’ to download it now!

 

In this Data Gurus Podcast excerpt with Sima Vasa, our Co-Founder & Chief Attribution Officer Jeff Greenfield breaks down the difference between a Marketing Mix Model and Multi-Touch Attribution:

A Marketing Mix Model (MMM) tells you what percentage of your budget to allocate into specific channels (TV, Radio, Direct Mail, Digital, etc.)

With MMM, there’s no ‘feedback’ telling you how each channel is performing towards you hitting your numbers.

Multi-Touch Attribution tells you how to allocate within those specific channels at the most granular level (think keyword), updates on a near real-time basis and in many cases is now completely replacing a Marketing Mix Model.

Later in the podcast, Sima and Jeff discuss the convergence of Multi-Touch & Marketing Mix.
Simply put:

  • Marketing Mix = Planning
  • Multi-Touch Attribution = Optimization + Planning

 

Learn More about MMM, MTA and even UMM with the new C3 Metrics Scorecard. Click ‘See Scorecard’ to download it now!

 

Is LinkedIn B2B Advertising 8.8x More Powerful?

Is LinkedIn B2B advertising 8.8x more powerful than what LinkedIn, itself, shows?

Yes, according to C3 Metrics.

From a measurement perspective, this is surprising.

According to Salesforce’s 2020 Report, the average number of marketing channels used in 2017 by advertisers was 5.4.

In 2018, it was climbing to 6.2 different marketing channels.

Yet every single marketing channel (Facebook, YouTube, Paid Search, TV, Affiliate, etc.) wants to show themselves as being the most effective channel at bringing in conversions even though there are six channels sharing credit.

In fact, most channels provide their own form of siloed measurement, like Google Analytics or Facebook, whose results defy all knowledge of the multi-channel consumer journey reported by Salesforce.

But LinkedIn B2B advertising transcends this norm with a surprising reversal by undervaluing their contribution by a factor of 8.8.


For B2C, LinkedIn ad performance appears like most channels taking a fractional hit when comparing self-reported measurement vs. complete view of the consumer journey.

But the complete view delivers 8.8 times the value LinkedIn claims itself for B2B ad performance.

How Could This Be?
B2B advertising is fundamentally different from B2C.

Historically, B2B channels are: Events, Direct Mail, Email, Print, Paid Search and Retargeting.

Now, LinkedIn and even HH Addressable TV are emerging as viable B2B channels.

Of all the B2B channels, LinkedIn is exclusively business.

There’s no better qualified pool of business prospects in a lean-forward, business frame of mind…than LinkedIn.

What’s the Key to 8.8X

The key to 8.8x is creative.

David Poltrack, Chief Research Officer at CBS demonstrated in a 2013 ARF study that 70% of TV’s impact is from creative.

“In LinkedIn’s lean-forward community, creative is easily 90%”, according to C3 Metrics co-founder Jeff Greenfield. “Poltrack’s TV numbers represents traditional TV, which is lean-back and includes call to action messaging, sight & sound. LinkedIn ads are tiny and without sound – if you can get the creative to work, you can discover that 8.8X. But if you can’t get creative to work in LinkedIn, it’s dry as a desert.”

What’s This Costing LinkedIn?
Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, is touted as the third coming of ad conglomerates next to Google and Facebook.

Estimated ad revenue and net operating income from Amazon and LinkedIn advertising paints Bezos as roughly 2.5x bigger.

But the other Jeff, Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn may have the pearl in the oyster, not Jeff Bezos.

Paint in the profit upside, with a view of the full Consumer Journey, and Jeff W. comes out 3x more profitable than Jeff B.


But, can he get there?

LinkedIn, not Amazon, may be the (hidden) third coming of advertising.

What % Does Creative Impact TV & Digital?

Creative in TV = 70% of impact. Creative in Digital = 35% of impact.

Creative = King in TV

David Poltrack, Chief Research Officer at CBS still holds the title for advertising’s best ad research ever.

In 2013, at the ARF he presented a comprehensive study concluding that 70% of TV advertising’s impact comes from creative.

Yes, creative.

  • If your ROI on TV is horrible, odds are 70% the reason = creative.
  • If your ROI on TV is amazing, odds are 70% the reason = creative.
  • If your TV’s not working…it’s not TV, it’s the creative.

“Poltrack’s study doesn’t get the credit it deserves,” said C3 Metrics advertising attribution measurement Chairman, Mark Hughes. “What you put in that 30, 60, or 120 second TV commercial makes all the difference. Poltrack quantified 70% of TV’s ROI comes from creative…which includes call to action, messaging, sight & sound. We see it every day with most clients running 6-7 TV creatives which we quantify down to the penny for ROI performance.”

But good creative is hard to find in TV.

The solution?

Test the living daylights out of many pieces of TV creative.

It’s like losing weight or building muscle: there is no shortcut.

To get fit in TV, you have to create new TV creative, iterate, and test. It’s the 70% key to TV success.

Creative = Half the Impact in TV

For digital display, the impact that creative contributes is half that of TV.

Several reasons:

  • Viewability (or lack thereof) in programmatic display.
  • Fraud (directly related to lack of viewability).
  • Infinite possibility of programmatic buying techniques in programmatic display versus TV (which has Nielsen and Rentrak data available to all media buyers with fixed inventory).

But perhaps Marc Pritchard (P &G’s CMO) knows this better than anyone because of his experience with digital display where 75% of all digital display ads never reach the consumer.

How does this affect creative’s most basic measurement metric in digital display?

CTR, creative’s staple in programmatic display is utter rubbish.

Here’s why:

CTR = Rubbish

It’s display’s formula of clicks divided by views

Click: Numerator

But clicks are massively overstated at least 50% because of botnet click fraud.

If the numerator (clicks) are wrong, CTR is wildly wrong (at least 2x wrong).

  • 100 clicks/10,000 views = 0.01
  • 50 clicks/10,000 views = 0.005

>> Actual CTR, because of numerator error, is 2x off.

That’s the numerator…

Impressions: Denominator

“Impressions” are not actually viewable…actual click-through-rate from a human, requires an impression to be viewable (how can a human click an ad that’s not viewable).

Impressions = auction wins (this is how the IAB defines an impression: when the auction is won and the vendor gets the right to serve a display ad).

In programmatic display, however, 51% of impressions are not viewable (C3 Metrics data).

Because impressions have to be viewable for a valid CTR, the denominator (views) is wildly off.

  • 100 clicks/10,000 impressions served = 0.01
  • 100 clicks/4,900 impressions viewable = 0.02

>> Actual CTR, because of denominator error, is off 2x.

Because both the numerator and the denominator are each off by 2x and 3x, CTR = utter rubbish.

The problem is, you don’t know if your clicks are wrong, or your views are wrong (and how much)

Programmatic CTR is equivalent to a pilot’s altimeter being off 2x, and GPS off by 3x.

Is the Solution VTR (No)

View-through-rate is the metric of last decade.

VTR is based on the “impression.”

But, again impressions are simply auction wins…nothing to do with actual viewability.

Simply search “nested iframe cookie” to get an in-depth explanation of how cookies are dropped without a display ad ever being displayed.

View-through-conversions are metrics for amateur marketers.

Answer?

Yes, it’s self-serving.

But marketing attribution with built-in viewability at a user level, also adding fraud control, also removing false positives, and also fractionalizing all media (versus just one channel) in an AWACS-like platform is the answer.

One referee.

One referee that can actually provide the true signal on programmatic (tossing out ads which are not seen, removing fraud and allowing spend from other marketing channels into the equation).

  • A referee that cares about making the right call.
  • A referee that has instant replay.
  • A referee trusted by CFOs.
  • A referee relied upon by CMO’s.
  • A referee, that if used…delivers 15% ROI improvement in media, and enables 30% higher marketing spend a year after using the referee.

Are you ready for accountability + growth now?

Why TV’s Thor Ain’t Easy To Lift

MediaPost’s Wayne Friedman isolates hairy problems associated with TV’s recent initiative to discuss a new method of selling TV media that the Internet has engaged in for years: CPA (cost per action) nicknamed Thor.

Namely, if a consumer saw a TV advertisement (linear, or streaming), and that consumer made a purchase within x number of days…the TV network would get paid a bounty.

Essentially, TV attribution (birthed in 2012).

But the hammer of Thor isn’t so easy to lift.

Friedman begins to unravel the obvious with questions like:

Seasonality
Industries and brands have seasonality which will impact conversion rates from TV ads to outcomes.
Think weight loss. Conversion rates are higher from January until the early part of swimsuit season.

Think automotive. TV ads convert at a higher rate with great lease or financing deals at the end of the year…but without a great lease of financing deal, should the TV media seller put its own TV inventory at risk when the fish aren’t running?

Convert vs Prompt
Brick and Mortar establishments even for the same brand, have vastly different conversion rates.
“I deployed one of the earliest brick and mortar conversion rate IT systems at Pep Boys automotive in 50 stores,” said Co-Founder & Chairman of C3 Metrics advertising attribution data cloud Mark Hughes.

“The ability for one store to convert versus another store showed wild differences. Store layout, lighting, inventory on hand, time of day, and quality of staff all affected the ability to turn a person walking in…into a customer making a purchase.”

Even ecommerce conversion rates wildly vary.

“Over a three-year period, a former client converted fewer paying customers on their site.” said Vanessa Branco of Armonix Digital. “The NYSE traded company wasn’t located in the heart of Silicon Valley and didn’t have the technical chops to understand the pure statistic related to shopping cart abandon rate which showed that plaque was accumulating to their proverbial ecommerce arteries. Consequently, the media was expected to bear the brunt of the company’s conversion woes.”

Lake Wobegon, where all brands convert their prospects above average? Thor lore.

Creative – Thor’s Biggest Thorn

Thor’s biggest Thorn, however, is TV creative itself produced by the advertiser.

According to Chief Research Officer at CBS Television David Poltrack, TV creative + messaging = 70% of the impact of TV advertising.

Translation: put an awful TV spot in 30 seconds of TV media, and you’ll get an awful result.

But put a great TV spot in 30 seconds of media, and results will be amazing.

So if TV media companies plan to sell media based on a CPA formula…those very TV companies may end up giving away TV for free if the creative does not deliver.

Is there a solution?

Imagine if an auto dealer in Delaware knew his creative = 36 index to all auto dealer ads nationwide.
That Delaware dealer now knows it’s not the TV media that has let them down…it’s the creative. Creative is the key to making TV media work or wilt.

Furthermore, that same dealer might be able to take a look at the dealer in Nevada with a 136 Index and discover what they’re doing right versus giving up on TV and moving more ad dollars to digital.

Only TV creatives “deemed worthy” passing a requirement (or creative index threshold) should be able to lift the hammer of Thor.

If a threshold metric is not met, then the TV advertiser should pay the normal CPM rate.

Thus, a threshold metric places mutual risk on the advertiser and the TV media seller.

Thor can only succeed with a “deemed worthy” creative, plus a prompt versus conversion methodology.
Before blazing to imitate digital and deliver the lagging metrics TV desperately needs to prove itself in the upper funnel…TV needs to be Thor-ough.

YouTube + Time Video Marriage = Clever

Time Inc just announced YouTube will be the tech backbone for Time’s new responsive video ad unit dubbed “Adapt.”
While the name Adapt may earn Time some trademark infringement from Adapt.TV, the move itself is quite clever on the part of the old, tech laggard Time Inc.
Why?
Tech laggards typically take forever to discover they’re behind. They also think they can catch up.
Then after years, they realize that smarter, faster tech companies will always out-talent them, out-pace them…and they will never catch up/match up.
At one point, there was a strategy meeting for Time.com and all its publishing sites that went something like this:

  • We can make more money with video content
  • Video = higher CPMS, so more video = more revenue
  • Great, let’s do it
  • We will

And then, after the timeline has been missed and revenue numbers missed, somebody says:

  • “There’s no way we will be able to deliver video at scale like YouTube”
  • “Let’s just use the engineering backbone of YouTube, using Time content”
  • “Face it, we’ll never catch/match YouTube for scalability and engineering”
  • “Plus, advertisers can use DoubleClick to place their ads on the Time video content”

Now, enter Google. It takes a revenue share from Time.
Time creates a unique, responsive video ad unit (with a largely ripped off trademark name).
YouTube, however, is doing something strategically clever.
As the war for video content and creators has begun between Facebook, YouTube, and Amazon…new revenue streams need to arrive. With the Time marriage, it just arrived for YouTube.
By becoming the highway and plumbing for video content in addition to the content itself, YouTube has started to build a beach head against Amazon and Facebook.
Smart Google, very smart.
Smart Time, very smart.
Something old, something new, something grew.

TV's Thor Thorn + 70% Worthiness Stat

AT&T, Comcast, Charter, Cox and other TV execs are secretly gathering this week to discuss a new method of selling TV media that the Internet has engaged in for years: CPA (cost per action).
Specifically: if a consumer saw a TV advertisement (linear, or streaming), and that consumer made a purchase within x number of days…the TV network would get paid a bounty.
Essentially, TV attribution (which has been in market since 2012).
Variety comments TV struggles to catch up to the mountain of measurement and data that digital currently offers.
But those digital metrics are largely wrong (last click, no built-in viewability, iffy cross-device, and lack of fraud controls).
TV measurement hasn’t changed much in 30 years. Because there’s no performance metrics (attribution) offered by TV media companies, ad dollars shift towards digital.
The unfortunate part: TV drives the upper part of the funnel for most advertisers, but digital harvests all that hard work using flawed last click metrics.
Fox no longer views CBS as the enemy: now it’s Facebook, Google, and anything digital or single channel last click.
Now Cometh Thor
There’s a saying: change doesn’t happen until you feel pain.
In local linear: ad revenue for TV is off about 10% on an apples to apples basis.
Pain has arrived.
For Comcast, local is a $2 billion business. Auto is about 25% of that business, which is down 8-10%.
That = $45 million revenue problem. Real pain.
Enter project Thor. Former rivals now gather about the round table to prevent the common pain of revenue loss.
Pain (or slight panic) has birthed Thor. Battling the perception that TV is old, weak, and dying (it isn’t).
TV is getting more addressable, and HH addressable TV may be 6% cheaper than programmatic display.
But Thor is a symbol to the entire media world that TV is still strong.
Thor’s Thorn
But before the rush to sell TV media with CPA is chiseled in stone…there is a thorn.
TV creative.
According to Chief Research Officer at CBS Television David Poltrack, TV creative + messaging = 70% of the impact of TV advertising.
Translation: put an awful TV spot in 30 seconds of TV media, and you’ll get an awful result.
But put a great TV spot in 30 seconds of media, and results will be amazing.
So when AT&T, Comcast, Charter, Cox, and more decide to sell media based on a CPA formula…those very TV companies may end up giving away TV for free if the creative does not deliver.
The requirement?
Imagine if an auto dealer in Delaware knew his creative is a 36 index to all auto dealer ads nationwide.
That Delaware dealer now knows it’s not the TV media that has let them down…it’s the creative. TV works: but creative is the key to making TV media work or wilt.
Furthermore, that same dealer might be able to take a look at the dealer in Nevada with a 136 Index and discover what they’re doing right versus giving up on TV and moving more ad dollars to digital.
In the movie Thor, only those “deemed worthy” had the power to lift Thor’s hammer. Those not deemed worthy, could not lift the hammer.
Only TV creatives “deemed worthy” passing a requirement, or creative index threshold should be able to lift the hammer of Thor…if a threshold metric is not met, then that TV advertiser should pay the normal CPM rate.
Thus, the “deemed worthy” requirement or threshold metric places mutual risk on the advertiser and the TV media seller.
Thor can only succeed with a “deemed worthy” creative threshold provision.
But Wait, There’s More
Behavior is a hard thing to change, because change is hard.
Most people and companies want change without the pain…without the effort.
One of the brands mentioned above asked C3 Metrics to develop a lightweight TV attribution product.
A product that could tap into Google Analytics with one click and through an API, go back in history for 25 months and perform TV attribution back in time.
No code to be added to websites, just one click.
No contract was signed, no development fees paid. Just a simple, but obvious understanding that money was bleeding, and the need was obvious. Build it and we will come.
Built, performing, and now live for numerous months.
But that TV company? Tied up in their own shorts, worried about organizational changes.
Change is hard. Change, like Thor, requires strength. Not everyone can lift the hammer of Thor.
So will Thor become animated fiction or a documentary?
Time (or pain) will tell.

Who Stole $1.47b in Click Fraud? – Meet the Fraudsters

Think click fraud ain’t real? Think again. The top four bots (currently known) took in $1.47 billion in ad fraud. That’s nearly the same revenue as publicly traded Square (NYSE: SQ).
It’s big business. It’s profitable business.
It’s also a business with low risk of imprisonment (after a multi-year hunt, European click fraudster got a one year misdemeanor in the Eastern District Federal Court of New York).

In other words, it will attract sharks from all over the world now that revenues from one bot (Methbot AFK13) approach the revenue of Square.
Methbot – AFK13
It’s the most elusive and highest grossing click fraud bot to date.
Methbot operated for three years through a Russian cybercrime group that White Ops researchers discovered using an internal botnet infrastructure versus the traditional ad fraud protocol of infecting unsuspecting devices to do the dirty work.
Methbot employed data centers in Dallas and Amsterdam to operate the botnet with spoofed IP addresses to evade blacklists.
The Russian gang created its own web browser and http library in order to avoid detection.
“It’s the largest operation ever discovered in digital ad fraud,” says Eddie Schwartz, president and COO of White Ops, an ad fraud detection firm.
The Russian hackers built bots to imitate mouse movements and social media login information so they appear to be human-generated; forged and compromised domains gave the appearance of legitimacy to the ad exchanges.
“A custom HTTP library that was very buggy set off a bunch of alerts on our system,” says White Ops principal researcher Ryan Castellucci, who is credited with first discovering Methbot.
“When click fraud presents itself as a low risk, high profit business, we’re going to see more of it…not less of it,” said C3 Metrics advertising attribution measurement COO Jeff Greenfield. “The only saving grace it that advanced measurement companies who see traffic from multiple exchanges algorithmically exclude those touchpoints before entering an attribution equation.”
As Joker said in Batman:
“Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?”
You have.

Is HH Addressable TV 6% Cheaper Than Programmatic Display?

Addressable TV 6% cheaper than Programmatic display?

Yes.

For numbers geeks who live to normalize data, apples to apples, we decided to do the math.

What prompted this?

This week, AT&T’s CFO said the company’s “addressable advertising” business continues to grow, now commanding CPMs of up to $40—a figure three times more than what AT&T’s standard advertising business can generate.

To boot, in ground-breaking move, Brian Lesser left GroupM for AT&T to build an automated addressable TV and premium video advertising platform at AT&T.

Finally, HH addressable TV tallies more than 50 million American homes (led by AT&T. Comcast and Spectrum), and now becomes a viable contender versus one-to-one digital prospecting.

So we compared the $40 CPM for HH addressable TV to Programmatic display prospecting.

Guess What?

When applying viewability, in-view seconds, screen size factor, and TV channel zapping factor, on a CPM per second basis, HH addressable TV is 6% cheaper than programmatic.


It’s a straight-forward mathematical equation. Viewability is from C3 Metrics data over the past 5 years which matches closely with comScore’s 54% number in programmatic.

It’s too simplistic to think, like the Flonase commercial that “six is better than one.” Factors need to be applied to normalize CPMs on an apples to apples basis.

“TV was once a shotgun compared to digital’s rifle focus. said C3 Metrics advertising attribution measurement Co-Founder Jeff Greenfield. “but now, with HH addressability at scale for TV, it’s challenging digital prospecting. We did the math because advertisers want to know on an equivalent basis, what the costs are.”

Right about now…folks at AT&T and Comcast are likely quoting Mark Wahlberg from Shooter in the war between Programmatic display and TV: “I didn’t start it, but be sure as hell… I mean to see it through.”
Load your weapons.

Viewability’s Material Flaw

“When an executive at a leading exchange claimed 100% viewability…that’s when the intellectual brawl began,” said C3 Metrics advertising attribution measurement CEO Mark Hughes.
“It was a private dinner event held by the research division of a Wall Street bank. The table stretched 45 feet with equity analysts mixed with digital advertising insiders. The discussion was meant to educate the analysts, providing them with expertise that’s hard to come by.”
As the debate got deeply technical and voices escalated…silence engulfed the room as the Wall Street analysts watched the Main Street slug-fest.
The programmatic exchange exec wouldn’t let go of his claim: “100% viewability.”
His stubbornness highlighted the complexity of viewability, even for an expert.
But today’s Digiday article by Ross Benes on how Ranker.com doubled its viewability rate in 15 months, is one of the best articles beginning to unpack the many components of viewability.
Viewability = Publisher + Exchange + Consumer:

Publishers

This is what Ranker.com did to change and double its viewability (it took over a year):

  1. How ads are rendered
    • Are ads rendered via Slideshow (especially terrible for mobile web viewability).
  2. Page length
    • Long pages = terrible for viewability because ads are below fold. Short pages with pagination (1, 2, 3) are better for viewability.
  3. Page load speed
    • If a page doesn’t fully load, the ad won’t load either. Page load speed is different in desktop and mobile (even for the same page). Slow speed also gives the consumer time to click to another page before the page fully loads, and thus the ad will not be viewable if the consumer clicks away.
  4. “Lazy-Loading” or “Smart Loading” Ad Technology
    • Publishers using “Lazy-Loading” ad technology enable ads to be called with an async HTML5 attribute which is simply a way to conserve browser resources.
  5. Using Slow Exchanges
    • All exchanges are not created equal. Different ones have different load times, and also load more info. Imagine running the 50 yard dash, then running it with two jugs of water.

Exchanges

The IAB definition of an impression is simply an auction win; the display unit has not yet been delivered to the user’s page/device.

  1. Impression ≠ Ad Served
    • If an advertiser, through the exchanges, bids and wins on the right to deliver a programmatic display impression, the impression is defined as the auction win. The ad has not even been served yet, it just means that it’s been bought (this is referred to as “Load Rate”). Load rates often run 75%-85% which means 15%-25% of the media you buy, never loads. In some cases, load rates can be as low as 50% due to technology incompatibility between SSP’s and DSP’s.
  2. Display “Views” are Not Views (just cookie drops)
    • Although an impression is simply an auction win, the ad then gets called from the server side and then has to load in the consumer’s browser viewport. Once it loads, it simply drops a cookie, and cookies have nothing to do with viewability.
  3. Age + Architecture = Different Speed
    • Different exchanges, like cars, have different technology, reliability, and speed. Ranker.com got rid of the slow and heavy exchanges it was using, and only allowed the fast technology of modern exchanges. If you drive a Pinto across the country versus a Corvette, you get there at different times. 20% of the time, display ads never load in the consumer’s browser because the Pinto never makes it across.

Consumers

Consumers are the third variable in the Venn diagram affecting viewability (and neither publishers nor Exchanges can control a consumer).

  1. Consumer’s Connection Speed
    • If a consumer is on WiFi, or a slow 3G: it makes page load speed very different. This is tangential to the load speed of a Publisher’s page (as well as an Exchange).
  2. Consumer Scrolling/Clicking Behavior
    • If a consumer scrolls down a page faster than the ad can load, or clicks away from the home page to another page on that same site, user behavior can be faster than ad loading. Neither Publishers nor Exchanges can change how consumers scroll or click.
  3. Browser Viewport Sizing + Applications Covering the Browser Viewport
    • Browser Viewports (not necessarily the device screen) can be stretched, squeezed, or shrunk. Browser viewports can also have things on top of them covering ads, for example: a second browser viewport, or an application like Outlook, Excel, and Powerpoint. Neither Publishers nor Exchanges can control the environment in which a consumer chooses to consume media.
  4. Device Type
    • Which device a consumer uses affects both their scrolling and navigation behavior. On desktop/laptop the speed of clicking links with mice is dramatically different than mobile which is navigated more with swiping. Mobile versus desktop/laptop usually manifests different rendering because screen dimensions are also different. But neither Publisher nor Exchange can control consumer’s behavior to use Ad Blockers.

The basics of measuring viewability:

  • Has to be done in the cross-domain iFrame
  • Has to be done in four browsers for desktop
  • Has to be done in four browsers for mobile web
  • Has to be done using the IAB guidelines for display and video

In C3 Metrics case, all of this matters (and is done in milliseconds). To boot, C3 Metrics has open-sourced portions of its viewability code to the IAB SafeFrame initiative.
But back to the geek brawl in front of the Wall Street analysts: add this up and there are 12 components within three legs of the viewability stool.
The golden rule of understanding viewability (which everyone forgets) is that impressions are clocked at the server/Exchange side, but viewability is clocked at the consumer side (in the consumer’s browser viewport). The loss factor from one side to the other is at least 10-30% because of Exchange factors (the ad never loads in the consumer’s browser).
Then take any combination of the 12 components in this Venn diagram…and nobody gets 100% viewability. Nobody. Claim 100% viewability, and you will get schooled.

Viewability’s Material Flaw

When attribution is not paired with viewability, it has a huge material flaw. A 49% flaw. Here’s the math:

  • 97% of all data collected for an advertiser are programmatic “display views” but if 51% of those views are not viewable, then 49% of your data is wrong before you even begin to attribute/Bayesian model it.
    • [97% x 51%] = 49%

Not many CFO’s ask for data to compile their earnings, and say “but make sure it’s 49% wrong before you give it to me.”
Attribution without viewability is a fiduciary flaw.