GroupM has joined forces with key clients to roll out a new set of viewability standards in a step to enhance measurement in digital advertising, especially with audiences consuming an increasing amount of online video.

Some of the companies backing the media network’s new initiative include Unilever, Campbell Soup Company, Church & Dwight, Shell, Subway and Volvo Cars.

The move is an update to standards originally set up by the group in 2004 alongside Unilever, where for video, the requirement was for half of the ad to be played with the sound on, in view 100% and initiated by the user rather than auto-played.

However, in efforts to adapt to the new way consumers browse the web, the guidelines now require a video ad to be 100% in view for at least one second. GroupM’s executive vice president, brand safety, John Montgomery, commented the company aims to offer its clients “the absolute best quality digital media” in many markets.

“By working with clients and progressive media and technology partners, we can help shape the digital marketplace for the better, as we have seen in the US,” said Montgomery.  

“It was always our goal to operate around a consistent standard globally and following many months of partner dialogue, now is the right time for us move forward with these enhanced standards that consider the evolution in social and mobile platforms, as well as user behaviours.”

GroupM’s regulations are supported by media and tech partners such as Spotify, Teads, Integral Ad Science and Moat, and the company is in “active dialogue” with all digital media partners globally.

David Barker, managing director & SVP at marketing tech company Amobee EMEA believes this is a “big step forward” and a confidence boost for advertisers, however, he feels viewability is not the “end goal”.

“Instead, it’s about being able to provide ads actually seen by potential customers to sell a product. This distinction is important because viewability is just one of many factors that marketers need to balance to achieve marketing goals in support of business growth,” he added.