If the first wave of programmatic was all about audience targeting over media selection, 2015 looks like the year that the pendulum began to swing back toward quality media.
Today, nearly all premium publishers put high-quality inventory on ad exchanges because more and more premium buyers are going programmatic. This virtuous cycle of greater efficiency, smarter buying and better monetization is the engine of programmatic growth and looks set to accelerate further in 2016.
AppNexus deployed ad-viewability measurement and reporting for free across the entire platform in April. Since that time, we have seen and measured trillions of impressions throughout the world as they get traded on our platform (bought, sold or both). We now have enough feedback to publish our first analysis of ad-viewability measurement against the MRC standards published earlier in the year..
Industry benchmarks for ad exchanges like Alenty, IAS and comScore report typical viewability rates of 40—45%. On AppNexus, the viewability score is now 50.01% with a notable uplift coming from premium publishers trading programmatically on the platform. In fact, if we look at the top quartile of traded impressions, the viewability rate climbs to 77.9%.
This level of viewability is usually only achieved with direct buy on premium publishers. As programmatic grows in significance to Publishers, Quality inventory accounts for more and more of the market.
Interestingly not all content categories are the same. But in spite of these differences, the top quarter of each category reaches a high level of viewability, ranging from 60% for Food & Drinks, to 80% for Business & Industry!
It is a similar story across formats. The lowest top quarter is “only” 67% viewable, which is more than the market average for premium sites in many benchmarks. For 120×600, the top quarter is as high as 84% viewable.
Whatever format a buyer needs, programmatic provides enough high quality inventory.
This analysis, the first of its kind to my knowledge, shows that programmatic is becoming more and more an integrated part of the global ad-market, where buyers can find a significant amount of premium inventory to achieve high levels of viewability across categories and formats.
While exciting for those of us who have tracked viewability measurement and programmatic over many years, findings like these should not come as too much of a surprise. After all, programmatic is forecasted to account for more than 70% of online advertising within 2 years, meaning the vast majority of premium inventory will be programmatic in 2017. In other words, the pendulum swing is all part of the industry maturing and delivering on its potential. I, for one, feel lucky to be at the forefront of this monumental shift, as we build the first truly seamless viewable marketplace.