As the new year begins, PerformanceIN continues its annual tradition of connecting with performance marketing experts to get their single biggest prediction for the industry in 2017.

In this piece, David Kashak, founder and CEO at Connatix, shares his views on the strategy that will solve the viewability issue.

If a video ad is played with sound below the fold, does it count? It’s a question many people in the ad industry grapple with daily. Advertisers are constantly running up against new and evolving ways consumers can ignore their messages, and as a result, they are not happy with the attention – or more accurately a lack of attention – that their ads earn.

However, the solution is not to use underhanded techniques to grab impressions, like hijacking the player to turn on the sound or forcing the browser to scroll the video player into view. This behaviour sends users fleeing from the page and unfairly punishes publishers in the long run. Instead, viewability will be fixed by putting the user first, with advertisers and publishers offering a combination of quality video placements and smarter autoplay to keep users engaged.  

Publishers up the quality

To solve these viewability issues, the ad tech industry will develop a slate of tools in 2017 to make all parties – advertisers, publishers and viewers – happy. Facebook’s introduction of autoplay video to the feed in 2016 did wonders to acclimate users to the practice. Autoplay gained enough traction that publishers quickly adopted it as part of their arsenal, and 2017 will see this trend grow exponentially.

Additionally, publishers will aggressively address the viewability problem by reducing the number of ads per page so they can charge premium prices for the ones that do run. Another way to look at this: quality over quantity.

Advertisers figure out autoplay

Advertisers will also continue to learn how to utilise autoplay video more intelligently, recognising that they need to grab users’ attention within the first three seconds the video appears onscreen and then telling their story effectively without sound.

Since advertisers get no benefit from video that is not in view, programmatic buying tools will be implemented to create transparency regarding which ads are viewable and which aren’t. Innovative companies will also introduce smarter player functionality that only serves ads when the player is in view.

The ascension of video

Finally, video will complete its ascension to native advertising’s preferred medium as budgets keep migrating in its direction in 2017. To that end, player placement, size and ads that only autoplay once users scroll them into view will all contribute to the solution of grabbing and maintaining consumers’ attention. In short, buyers will pay a premium for a large video player with 100% viewability.  

2017 will re-affirm native advertising’s number one law: content is king. Quality ads – not more ads – that engage viewers combined with an accepted, accurate measurement standard across the industry will do wonders to solve the viewability conundrum. Native advertising companies will be at the forefront of creating the products that get us there.