Despite the complicated world of digital advertising and the plethora of technology platforms used by media owners, advertisers can achieve 100% viewability – even though a recent study from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) claims this is “not yet possible”.

The State of Viewability Transaction 2015 includes seven recommended principles to help the digital advertising industry manage the shift to 100% viewability, and claims that “given the limitations in current technology, and the publisher observed variances in measuring of 30-40%, it is recommended that in this year of transition, measured impressions be held to a 70% viewability threshold.” And though there is no doubt we should be striving for the highest standards possible in all areas of digital marketing, there have been breakthroughs in certain areas where 100% viewability has already been achieved.

For advertisers running campaigns across multiple sites and publishers, it is an acknowledged struggle to compare like with like, let alone determine what percentage of ads have been viewed by the target audience. But the issues surrounding low viewability can be solved by utilising the form of true native which, unlike traditional display, can be sold on a guaranteed viewable CPM (vCPM) rate.

Native advertising – brand content syndicated to publisher websites and promoted in-feed within publisher editorial streams – delivers a fully integrated user experience, eliminating the need for users to click out to external sites and ensuring contextual relevance and alignment to the surrounding editorial content.

By working with a network of publishers, and an advanced native ad platform, clients can be assured they will only be charged on a vCPM basis; when the native ad unit or article preview is in-view of the user’s browser. And because the content is ad-served rather than manually placed through various publishers’ content management systems (CMS), scale, advanced campaign controls, and performance optimisation can be provided, while capturing ground-breaking consumer attention analytics not previously available to content marketers.

Native advertising continues to dominate the digital media landscape, accounting for higher proportions of brands’ ad budgets as they strive to create high quality content that captures the authentic attention of its audience. Delivering measurable results is key to its success – as well as moving the goal posts in terms of viewability, we also need to reconsider the definition of a viewable impression.

The current industry standard, developed by the Media Rating Council (MRC), states that for desktop display ads to be considered viewable 50% of their pixels must be in view for a minimum of one second and for larger desktop ad units, 30% of pixels must be in view for one second to constitute a view. However, once again native is already pushing the boundaries, and the leading automated systems only count a viewable impression at 50% and over.

It is encouraging to see the issue of accountability in digital media becoming such a hot topic as we shift our attention from served to viewable impressions. However, such ambitious aspirations may not be as far removed as originally perceived when considering how to measure the success of native.

Adam Rock

Adam Rock


Adam Rock, MD, Tan Media.