Quality Matters - Set A Standard
Updated: Nov 9, 2017
Over 30% of all programmatic ad impressions,
which now accounts for the majority of digital ad spend, are fraudulent. Industry average viewability rates are below 60%, with little sign of improving. That all translates to billions of dollars per year in losses for marketers.
Despite those staggering numbers, there's been a pervasive notion amongst advertisers that their campaigns are the exception to the rule or that the numbers couldn't possibly be that high on their initiatives. This misconception is fueled by a lack of buying transparency coupled with inadequate measurement protocols.
Change Is Needed
In recent months, that line of thinking has started to change. At the CMO level, fraud and ad misplacement (brand safety) are two major concerns according to a recent CMO Council study. Viewability also remains a hot topic, especially with measurement challenges in mobile.
With ad verification and measurement technologies reaching maturation, it's incumbent on marketers to develop published standards for their brand. Industry guidelines, such as the IAB's 70% viewability threshold, are a great place to start, but don't go deep enough.
Brand Standard Framework
The most forward thinking marketers leverage a process and results driven framework to take control of ad quality and brand placement:
Establish A Baseline - choose an ad verification platform and begin measuring across the three major quality dimensions: viewability, fraud, and brand safety. In parallel, request domain and app lists from your vendors and agencies. The goal of this phase is to assess your current state, breaking down results across devices, channels, and formats.
Assess & Benchmark - based on the the results from phase 1, determine the low hanging fruit for improvement. For example, if your fraud rates are below 5% but your viewability rates are only 50%, viewability would be a great place to start. This process will give you a prioritization scheme to carry into phase 3.
Goal Set - industry guidelines should be considered as the minimum acceptable threshold, however, they may be out of reach in the short term. Setting goals for improvement over the course of two or three quarters will make progress manageable and sustainable, while minimizing disruption to your in-market media.
Implement - your Brand Standard should be a detailed document outlining goals, measurement expectations, compliance mandates, and reporting requirements. The document should be distributed to all of your vendors and agencies so that the new standard is clear. Holding to your improvement goal timeline may seem tough, but your vendors will adapt. For any new vendors, the end standard should be discussed and agreed on before media buying begins.
A Call To Action
A project like this can seem daunting, but at the same time the current norm of 30%+ ad waste is completely unsustainable. You may need to change vendors or have tough conversations, but the improvement in efficiency, results, and brand experience will be well worth it.