The comScore study addresses some of the Making Marketing Make Sense (3MS) principles, specifically surrounding how display ads are served. The 3MSinitiative, a project developed by the IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau), the ANA (Association of National Advertisers), and the 4A’s (American Association of Advertising Agencies), lays a framework for better digital measurement solutions in an effort to improve cross-platform comparisons. The first measurement 3MS outlined is shifting from a served impression standard to a viewed impression standard.
Switching to viewable impressions from the current served impression standard will help marketers reduce waste. For example, it has long been thought that the best page position on any site for display ads is above-the-fold, but the comScore study also deflates that notion. It found that some ads above-the-fold were not seen because they did not load before the user scrolled down to read content on the page, bringing more opportunity to the ads below-the-fold to be seen. This represents opportunity for online marketers as well as sellers of display advertising by placing more value on below-the-fold inventory.
The key is to know the format of the site and how the content is consumed on that site. If the majority of the traffic comes to a site to read articles and the below-the-fold banners are wrapped by the content on the page, those ads have a higher opportunity to be viewed by the user. Being able to place a higher value on below-the-fold inventory can easily translate into the opportunity for higher CPMs because of the content or where the ads are located on the page.
Marketers are increasingly asked to justify ROI, especially with respect to digital. Developing efficiencies and effectiveness is more important than ever. It may be sometime before the standard is changed from served to viewed impressions, but there are already pilot tests underway to help determine the impact of the solutions proposed by 3MS. After all, just because an impression is counted as served or delivered, doesn’t always mean it is viewed.
Alina Diaz is a Senior Consultant at The Center for Sales Strategy.