January 22, 2015

Realizing the Promise of Programmatic through comScore Industry Trust

Cameron Meierhoefer

It’s no secret that programmatic advertising is on the rise. Spending on programmatic advertising topped $10 Billion in 2014, and that figure is expected to double in the next two years. In a perfect programmatic world, buyers would achieve better results while lowering costs, and sellers could better showcase their quality impressions and increase profits.

But the current reality of programmatic clouds this dream. What’s holding back the market? It boils down to a lack of trust between buyers and sellers. Clients regularly ask us:

  • “Is there quality in programmatic?”
  • “How can I be sure I’m actually getting the impressions I paid for?”
  • “Is my brand being accurately represented in programmatic, or is it being degraded?”

Add in daily headlines about industry issues such as verification, viewability, ad fraud and non-human traffic, and all of this leads to an environment wrought with confusion and distrust. The verification and viewability debate has swung too far, and many are consumed with technical debates about how to structure the best “gotcha” metrics.

Here at comScore, we’re calling on the industry to help change this conversation and also offering a solution. Let’s focus the dialogue on creating a more efficient market, one where quality can easily be identified so that buyers get what they pay for and sellers receive fair value.

comScore has long played a role in helping the digital advertising industry establish pricing and fair value, developing the measurement currency that buyers and sellers have trusted for years in traditional buying. Today, we’re bringing this same independent measurement to programmatic to give buyers and sellers that same trust in digital, regardless of how ads are purchased. 

Introducing comScore Industry Trust

We are proud to introduce comScore Industry Trust, a multi-phase initiative that enables trusted transactions between buyers and sellers. comScore Industry Trust is focused on: 

  • Providing an independent rating of ad inventory quality, and
  • Activating quality inventory across both programmatic trading and traditional media planning.

The comScore Industry Trust Initiative will roll out over the first half of 2015, with the Trust Profiles  -- a collection of key comScore advertising metrics available directly in programmatic trading platforms  -- as the first component, launching today.  

comScore Trust Profiles Bridge the Gap Between Traditional and Programmatic Buying

Starting this quarter, advertisers will be able to buy impressions programmatically using the same comScore metrics they have used for traditional ad buys for years, including those available in comScore Media Metrix® Multi-Platform and validated Campaign Essentials™ (vCE®).

These metrics will first be available in select programmatic platforms, including MediaMath, Turn, The Trade Desk, Rubicon Project and Eyereturn Marketing with additional integrations to follow. Ultimately, advertisers will benefit from:

  • Using trusted, independent data for programmatic buys. As the market transitions to programmatic buying, our solution provides the most effective bridge from traditional media planning and buying.
    • Holistic and consistent metrics. Just like for traditional media buying, comScore provides a comprehensive set of metrics – not just NHT and viewability, but also Media Metrix Multi-Platform and Video Metrix category rankings. Demographics data is coming soon.
    • Closed-loop reporting. With the introduction of Trust Profiles, buyers can now use the same data sources for both buying and campaign management (vCE).

comScore Trust Profiles Enable Publishers to Spotlight Quality Inventory

With comScore data now available in select programmatic platforms, it is critical that we provide publishers with transparency into how their data will be represented in programmatic environments, and give them the opportunity to evaluate and manage their inventory.

Beginning today, publishers who are comScore clients are able to privately view their own Trust Profiles.  This publisher-only view gives each publisher insight as to how their sites are represented in programmatic platforms. Publishers can ask questions, understand where the measures come from and proactively manage their inventory definitions. Ultimately, we want publishers to have more control over their own inventory. This is a critically important part of the success of Industry Trust, as it enhances transparency between buyers and sellers.

Ultimately, publishers will benefit from:

  • The ability to proactively address problem areas. We believe we are the only solution in the market to provide a private publisher view, enabling publishers to gain insight into how their inventory is represented to the market.
    • Holistic and consistent metrics. Just like for traditional media buying, comScore provides a comprehensive set of metrics – not just NHT and viewability, but also Media Metrix Multi-Platform and Video Metrix category rankings. Demographics data is coming soon.
    • Identifying and highlighting quality inventory. Sellers with high-quality inventory can now differentiate themselves inside programmatic trading environments. This will enable publishers to get credit for their inventory and be fairly compensated based on the value they deliver.

Paving the Way for Trust in Programmatic

Today’s announcement about comScore Industry Trust is only the beginning. We’ll be introducing additional products as part of Industry Trust later this year, all of which are designed to help both buyers and sellers create a higher quality programmatic environment.

Let’s work together as an industry to help the best of digital stand up and to inspire the best inventory to trade programmatically. This is a win-win for both buyers and sellers, and will ultimately strengthen the credibility of digital advertising overall.

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