If you have the sneaking suspicion that your digital ad spend isn’t working hard enough, it turns out you’re probably right.
Hundreds of millions of pounds and dollars are being wasted each year on digital ads which are served but never viewed.
New figures from comScore show that more than half of digital ads (54%) are never seen by consumers. It’s a colossal waste, and demonstrates the need for brands and marketers to reassess their digital marketing approach.
Late last year, the Media Rating Council (MRC) said it would be premature for online advertising to transact on 'viewable impressions'.
The findings of our own research show why we couldn't agree more.
'Viewability' was a hot topic in online display in 2012 and that looks set to continue this year. Ad Age put out an article a couple of weeks ago about viewability with the subtitle “lots of debate, little action”.
But, while viewable impressions as a measurement metric make sense in theory, the practical application is complicated and potentially dangerous to the short-term health of the industry for both sellers and buyers.
Digital channels continue to provide advertisers with an ever-growing number of options for marketing to consumers, but there's a problem: many of their messages don't get through.
Many consumers, bombarded by ads, many of which they see as annoyances, have blinded themselves to certain types of ad units, and some, in an attempt to squash ads altogether, have turned to ad blocking software. Coupled with poorly-placed units, advertisers often have no idea how many of their ads have actually been viewed or were even viewable, prompting calls for viewability standards.
Advertisers have more and more types of online ad inventory than ever, and thanks to technologies like real-time bidding, increasingly sophisticated ways to buy them.
But for advertisers actually hoping their ads will reach consumers, there's bad news.