A coalition of groups representing the continent’s advertising sector have taken their first steps toward outlining a universal definition of what “viewability” is in regards to online advertising.
What makes a view a view? It’s a challenge that the ad industry has long struggled with, in part because there isn’t a lot of consistency when it comes to ensuring an ad has been viewed.
An ad on Facebook might have a different standard of viewability than one on Twitter, while Google’s AdSense might have another. Meanwhile, advertisers themselves might have their own standards, and those might not be compatible, either.
In other words, it’s confusing—and a great target for standardization.
And that’s why a coalition of European ad groups, including Interactive Advertising Bureau Europe (IAB Europe), World Federation of Advertisers (WFA), and the European Association of Communications Agencies (EACA), have been taking on this problem, first launching the European Viewability Steering Group in 2015.
Now, the group has a fresh framework at its disposal. The new European Viewability Certification Framework, launched Thursday, hopes to clear up some of the questions around viewability. The first fruit of this effort is the “European Viewability Measurement Principles,” a guide that defines a viewable impression, along with how that ad should be measured.
“There have been industrywide calls to improve the quality of digital ad inventory and develop more robust digital measurement techniques,” the principles document [PDF] stated. “This is considered a vital step toward delivering ‘realistic’ brand exposure metrics.”
Up next, the coalition will try to find suitable auditors through an RFP process, which is expected to start up by the end of August.
In comments on the initiative, WFA Global Head of Marketing Services Rob Dreblow noted that the group’s work was inspired directly by efforts in other countries.
“Whilst advertisers investing online often work with their own definitions of a viewable impression, it is critical to have a baseline of quality in terms of how to measure a genuine opportunity to see,” Dreblow noted in a news release. “Building on the excellent work in the U.S. and U.K., we hope this initiative will serve to help markets around the world reduce discrepancies and improve the quality of viewability measurement as this project develops into global guidance.”
While Europe is a broad market with many countries, the approach to viewability is meant to work in different parts of the world, noted Alison Fennah, IAB Europe’s executive business advisor.
“This initiative is designed to enable Europe’s varied markets to collaborate and create regional standards and deliver local growth,” Fennah stated.