This is one of of those rare cartoons where I didn’t have to exaggerate anything to make a situation sound ridiculous.
The digital ad world has been is a state of disarray since Google shared the results of a study 18 months ago that a whopping 56.1% of display ad impressions are not even seen. And the criteria for whether an ad is officially considered “viewable” by the IAB is a pretty low bar: at least 50% of the ad pixels on screen for at least a second.
Brands that historically have been paying for “ads served” rather than “ads viewed” are naturally pushing to change the industry. Why would they pay for an ad impression that is technically never even on screen?
And even if an ad is technically viewable, of course, that doesn’t mean anyone actually paid attention to it. “Viewability” is just a measure of whether the ad had a chance to be seen, not whether it actually broke through the clutter. There’s also a big problem of fraudulent ad inventory. And the fact that 99.8% of viewable ads are never clicked.
Marketers have never had better access to data reach consumers in more targeted ways that never before. But the digital advertising ecosystem is still in its adolescence.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on how brands should navigate it.
(Marketoonist Monday: I’m giving away a signed cartoon print. Just share an insightful comment to this week’s post by 5:00 PST on Monday. Thanks!)
9 CommentsJoin the Discussion
Daryl Weber says
There is some evidence that direct attention to ads (digital or otherwise) may not be necessary for them to “work” at least in a subconscious, emotional and brand-building kind of way: http://www.researchgate.net/publication/4733803_Measuring_Affective_Advertising_Implications_of_Low_Attention_Processing_on_Recall
Professor Byron Sharp says
That evidence is for TV commercials.
Larry McManis says
Good one. Online ads suffer from a malady worse than (or at least as bad as) crowded packages in a grocery aisle. Unless the “shopper” is actually looking for you, the attention you get is measured in milliseconds (and apparently partial pixels) as eyes rush over the screen in search of something else. Neuromarketing research shows that most all of that info is processed subconsciously and never surfaces for conscious thought. Let’s remember also that capturing attention is the easy part. There’s also emotion and retention. In the ever-increasing clutter of the online world, marketers better be considering more than just “impressions”.
This made me laugh so hard it hurt. It brings together all the demons of digital Brand communications in one wry sideswipe: the dearth of measurability, the bot phenomenon, quality of context, benchmarks of “views” – I mean, why would you?!? Brilliant.
I would argue that publishers should reduce the inventory significantly and better target their ads to increase relevancy, which IMHO, will drive a better user experience as well as higher campaign performance. Then, they can charge a higher CPM and make everyone happy.
Hans Schnakenhals says
Except those who do not like to be tracked to facilitate your targeting.
The funniest thing I’ve seen is an agency claiming sales success for view through ads served up to a month before the actual sale … and being genuinely pleased about it!
There are however ways to verify this, namely companies such as Integral Ad Science and Moat. The onus must be placed on the ecosystem to leverage said companies to clean up the muck.
Jeff Bander says
Google PH.D conducted a detailed study to see the correlation of mouse tracking to biometric eye tracking. Results show a 4% correlation.
Take your own test, do you use your mouse to underline what you look at? In first grade we did, but mouse tracking is meaningless to what is seen. If you want to know what ad impression is actually SEEN and not inscreen, you have to get Sticky.