of Banner Blindness
Ever since the MRC’s made the announcement of plans to move the standard measurements of online ad impressions from “served” to being “in-view”, 2015 has decidedly become a crucial time in determining how the shift to viewable impressions will roll out. This being a small step forward for a huge industry, and with some gaps not clearly addressed, has indeed caused much confusion with its adaptation. Amidst this transitional period, there has also been launches of reports declaring the death of display advertising (banners, to be specific).
With reports on banner blindness blaring in our face, the constant worry about the below-the-fold placements of content based ads, we are constantly reminded that there will always be flaws to our approaches. In the face of these issues that we face, the the struggle towards the “opportunity to see”, perhaps the question we should ask as an industry is this – does increasing the “opportunity to see” boost an ads opportunity of being seen?
Image via freeuse.io
Think about it.
Whether we agree to it or not, standard banners still has a place in our industry because of its convenience; and attention will be an increasingly scarce commodity if not already so. So again the question – does the act of putting something in view, grant it the opportunity for attention?
Our stance at Innity is that an ad that is not seen cannot provide value to advertisers. That said, viewability alone does not paint the whole picture of display’s metrics system. It is imperative that we are able to tie back the metrics reflecting the effectiveness of ads in such a way that aligns to the marketing goals of a brand along a customer’s journey. With that, what is measured has to serve a purpose in the bigger picture. While viewabilty plays a major role, the current obsession we have with it would blind us from looking at other metrics that may be as worthy of our notice – should we let it to.
Viewable impressions as a standard are the answer to the issues that CPM and CPC models face – misleading CTRs, bot fraud, and most importantly, wasted impressions. Viewable impression models ensure that advertisers are charged only when ads are within view, thereby creating potential of genuine viewer interaction that bots cannot emulate, solving the problem for most of display ads. Even standard banners, in their brief and blurred exposed glory get a boost in communicating their message and cut through the clutter. Tied back to the customer journey, what is known as mere exposure itself has substantial weight in establishing awareness and interest towards a brand and its product. This is where the opportunity to see is most relevant, and still remains as a critical element in the today’s consumer journey.
But marketers effort to engage audiences doesn’t stop there. Our overcoming banner blindness has led us to targeting middle funnel behaviors with impactful content, alongside interactive and engagement based display ads. Native, iab Rising Stars and the like has gained much momentum for the very reason that these formats are more capable of creating a more immersive advertising experience for the user. Measuring engagement as compared to views in this case allows us to map a clearer picture, since from results, we see that Engagement acts as the metric that is more effective in measuring if an ad has meaningfully influenced a behavior. We see great emphasis of this from both publishers and other tech vendors, and we believe that it is the way forward. That said, Viewability needs to progress into a common metric in order for us to fully leverage engagement’s full potential. This is why Innity is committed to advocate Viewability as a currency, the first step being our certified compliant with the Viewable Impressions standard.
Viewability is still in its infancy, but as the technology progresses, the opportunities that lie beyond the horizon are exciting. Those that are in progress are the phasing out CPC model, and adaptations of vCPM and a more well-rounded CPE model. Ad tech is filling in the gaps of our understanding of which channel strategies took part in bringing the consumer to conversion. Banners, down the road, will undoubtedly be replaced and more immersive formats will become the norm. Along with quality branded content, the best kind of advertising remains the ones that are emotionally engaging, whether through the means of the content production itself or with the help of technology that supports it. As Viewability becomes an expectant, these experiences will be quantifiable regardless of it aiming to stand out or blend in.