Ad Viewability Series: Q&A with Alexander Edström, Admeta CEO

Alexander Edström - Admeta CEOOne of the increasingly hot topics of the year appears to be that of ad viewability, particularly in light of the Media Rating Council announcement on lifting its Viewable Impression Advisory by the end of Q1 2014.

Admeta ( CEO Alexander Edström has kindly agreed to a Q&A with Ad Ops Online, discussing the impact of shifting towards a viewable impressions model.

Otilia Otlacan: There have been talks around ad viewability for quite some time and the push for it feels stronger than ever, from many fronts. Do you think 2014 will finally be the year when viewability measurement takes off at large scale?

Alexander Edström: Admeta has measured viewability for our publishers for quite some time. At the same time Admeta believes the core value of advertising has to do with performance metrics; meaning that ads that are not viewable will not perform. Therefore our optimization engine automatically delivers ads where, when and to whom we can see the highest probability of some sort of interaction (click or conversion). We have seen a growing interest in this area among our clients. As our premium publishers have opened up more and more inventory for RTB, in addition to direct sales, we have also made it possible to send “in screen” impressions on RTB. So to answer your question; I believe 2014 is the year when it will take off.

Otilia Otlacan: Who will benefit most from a wide adoption of transactions based on viewable impressions? Who should be afraid?

Alexander Edström: I believe the whole advertising community is still left with the question: “Where did my ad spend go?” So anything that builds creditability to the industry will make all parties gain from it. Having said that; I believe publishers are a bit reluctant and careful to start offer an “in screen currency” over night because making that available; who would buy the other currency? We have publishers that have started to offer one “in screen currency” and one “unknown” – where the latter can be either in screen or not – to make sure this transition is smooth. As buyers start value and bid higher for “in screen” the “unknown” category can be phased out, and we all end up in an ecosystem where you know that all ads are viewed. The ones that should fear this transition are the publishers with less quality content with many and bad placements that will not be scrolled into view due to lack of interest of the visitor to scroll the page.

Otilia Otlacan: Can you help clarify how viewable impressions are defined? There appears to be a great deal of confusion, particularly amongst publishers.

Alexander Edström: There are different definitions for this for sure. Admeta´s definition of a viewable impression has been when at least 70% of the ad is on screen, but we are now changing to the IAB definition of 50% and minimum 1 second.

Otilia Otlacan: As soon as publishers start billing on viewed impressions, there will be a need to deal with discrepancies. How could this be addressed by private ad exchanges such as Admeta’s?

Alexander Edström: In a Private Ad Exchange setting it is on the publishers’ conditions and viewability data. If an advertiser using a 3rd party monitoring tool shows a discrepancy we have to look into that case specifically; but nothing we have experienced so far.

Otilia Otlacan: comScore reports that in-view rates generated by premium publishers* are higher than those occurring in ad networks and exchanges. How does this translate for private exchanges?

Alexander Edström: I believe content is king. I would expect the reason for these figures is because a visitor at a premium site tend to scroll the whole page due to higher quality of content in comparison to lower quality content properties. Furthermore; we have to remember that in the end of the day it is up to each publisher to decide what inventory and placement they want to sell and how they sell it. For a premium publisher that has to care of its brand they are keener to put out placements for sale that are attractive and builds brand instead of ruin it.

Otilia Otlacan: Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?

Alexander Edström: I believe the discussion about in view or not makes a lot of sense and is a relevant discussion. For Admeta it has not historically been an issue really since our optimization technology’s rationale is all about making sure ads perform, which by itself strives for making sure to place relevant ads where they are interactable. We welcome this topic since all parties will gain from fully transparent ecosystem.