A Novel Solution To An Age-Old Marketing Problem: Guaranteed Viewability

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As the 19th-century American marketing pioneer, John Wanamaker, is reported once to have said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” Wanamaker was referring to the fact that he never could be certain which “half” of his ad spend was the half he could credit with engaging his audience. It’s a problem that’s dogged the Wanamakers (and Fortune 500 companies) of the world ever since.

At least up until this moment. With Guaranteed Viewability, a new Publisher Ad Server capability from AppNexus, marketers can now purchase impressions from publishers that are quantifiably “guaranteed” to be seen by actual people (as opposed to “seen” by web-bots, or not seen at all). And if those ads aren’t seen by a human, no advertiser or agency is ever required to pay a cent. For buyers and sellers alike, the ramifications of Guaranteed Viewability are quite historic.

In our viewability analysis, we found that exactly 50.01% (half!) of impressions traded on the platform were viewable. We’ve arrived at a moment when brands and agencies alike can rest at ease, knowing full well which half of their campaign budget is being spent in successful “advertising” – and which half is being “wasted.”

The sell-side benefits greatly from Guaranteed Viewability as well. The new capability lets developers and publishers establish guaranteed line items with budget and pacing based purely on viewed impressions (Viewable CPM, or vCPM).  It lets publishers evaluate and charge appropriate prices for their inventory from their buy-side partners, since a viewable guaranteed impression is far more valuable than a non-viewable guaranteed impression (by fact that it is certain to be seen by a human audience). Moreover, when coupled with sophisticated publisher tools like AppNexus’ Yieldex Analytics and Publisher Suite with built-in forecasting, publishers are now able to predict the likelihood of higher CPMs generated by Guaranteed Viewability.

Viewable Guarantees should be welcome news to the whole ecosystem. AppNexus has long believed that end-to-end transparency improves the performance, quality and overall market value of digital advertising. It’s the reason we acquired Alenty, one of the first Media Ratings Council (MRC)-accredited ad viewability companies in the world, and then went on to create the world’s first open, fully automated marketplace using viewable impressions.

Customers using our Viewable Guaranteed should know that AppNexus is fully MRC-accredited for display viewability on desktop in its own right. MRC accreditation certifies that AppNexus’ procedures adhere to the MRC’s Minimum Standards for Ratings Research and to applicable measurement guidelines issued by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB).

In addition, our platform offers measurement and reporting by default and free of charge– in effect, we’re achieving the same level of performance as pure-play viewability providers – even while cutting out the ad-tech tax between marketers and publishers.

With other companies following AppNexus’ lead, we anticipate a time when viewable impressions will replace CPMs as the going “currency” for digital ad transactions – and for good reason. In the real-time push and pull of digital trading, a platform that trades in viewable impressions provides a level of mutual trust and synchronicity for buyers and sellers alike.


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