AppNexus has announced ‘guaranteed viewability’, ensuring marketers only pay for impressions seen by actual people, as opposed to web bots or not at all.

The added capability to its publisher ad server makes AppNexus one of the first open marketplaces to offer payment only on viewable impressions. According to the group, so far only Google offers a comparable service through AdX.

The announcement arrives in the midst of what some have called a viewability ‘crisis’, with advertisers concerned that often as much as half or more of their ad spend is lost to fraudulent impressions.

Of course, the catch for advertisers is that publishers are able to use this to charge a premium for viewable CPM (cost per mille).

A statement from AppNexus says: “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.”

A welcomed announcement

Citing guaranteed viewability as “welcome news” to the ad ecosystem, making sure ads are actually viewed has been a concern high on the AppNexus agenda since its acquisition of viewability measurement firm Alenty in 2014.

Having had its procedure certified by the Media Rating Council – the non-profit setting the standard for valid ad measurement – AppNexus claims its viewability tools have been accredited for desktop display advertising, although it doesn’t mention mobile.  

“As a DSP that enables measurement and reporting by default and free of charge with MRC accreditation, 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.”

The group claimed to anticipate a time when viewable impressions will replace CPM as the going currency for digital ad transactions, referring to a “mutual trust and synchronicity” between each side of the trading desk as a driver.