The continued drive towards purchasing ad inventory that can offer superior rates of awareness has been analysed by the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) as part of a whitepaper on viewable impressions. 

In its study of the European ad market, the group has looked into adoption of products that have their ads displayed in highly visible spaces across a website. But while the publishing of definitions and media agency take-up have been clear positives in the move towards providing quality impressions, the IAB found advertiser adoption to be generally low. 

Based on the findings, viewable impressions are a hot topic in strong digital ad markets such as the UK, Germany and Sweden, but actual trading has not matched the hype. 

EU focus

The IAB highlighted that much work has been done in making advertisers and publishers aware of what makes a viewable impression. 

Guidelines from the IAB’s 3MS initiative and the US Media Rating Council say the time requirement for a viewable impression is at least one second spent in front of the viewer, while the 50% of the pixels in the advertisement have to be within an ‘in-focus’ section of a website.

In the UK, the IAB said that publishers face a “considerable body of work” to test viewability of their ad products but that new standards for viewable impressions would deliver “important benefits” for both sites and marketers. 

Nations like France and Netherlands have made progress in this area through adoption of 3MS and MRC guidelines, although other markets such as Denmark, Spain and Italy are lacking a standardised set of rules for the new format. 

In some countries it’s a case of having the framework but lacking the demand. In Finland, for example, publishers have the capability to sell and measure viewable impressions, but the IAB said very few publishers have taken advantage. 

The IAB’s findings added weight to the belief that trading on viewable impressions was still in its infancy, and that having the full house of publisher, agency and advertiser adoption is extremely rate.

Recent happenings

Progress in improving rates of display ad views may be slow, but a year is yet to pass since the IAB gave the “green light” for the industry to trade against viewability through the release of its UK guidelines on viewable impressions. 

Announcing their publication in April 2014, Steve Chester, the group’s director of data and industry programmes, said the guidelines would herald a new era in delivery measurement for the industry. 

The move was backed to offer the prospect of “guaranteed impacts” to the advertisers that helped display advertising in the UK to a worth of £1.9 billion in 2013.

With this expected to rise yet again in 2015, publishers will be under increased pressure to guarantee that ads can be served quickly and effectively, with plenty of focus paid to the quality of each view.