Since Comscore’s recent announcement that we will be offering free viewability measurement globally, I have had several conversations with advertisers, media agencies and publishers. The response to the news has been quite positive with many questions and comments about what this strategic move might mean for Comscore and the broader ecosystem. In the below post, I’ve summarised my thoughts on some of the questions this announcement has sparked.
What is Comscore Viewability?
Comscore Viewability* is a free, self-service solution that provides baseline viewability measurement across display, video, desktop and mobile campaigns. Comscore Viewability will be available globally in a clean, easy-to-use interface at the end of Q3 this year.
Why is Comscore offering free viewability?
At Comscore, we’ve always believed that advertising measurement should focus on metrics that matter, such as reach, frequency, gross rating points (GRPs) and lift. In recent years, however, the digital ecosystem has lost sight of these metrics, often focusing too heavily on viewability as a success metric. While ensuring that an ad gets seen is critically important, viewability alone is not enough to have an impact. As an industry, we must bring focus back to the advertising metrics that matter – and that means putting viewability in its rightful place as a baseline. That’s exactly what we are aiming to do by making Comscore Viewability free to media buyers and sellers across the ecosystem.
What does this mean for the industry?
Comscore has been providing viewability measurement to the industry since its acquisition of AdXpose in 2011, and was the first company to be accredited by the Media Rating Council for both audience and ad validation, which includes viewability measurement. However, this is the first time that we are offering viewability reporting for free to the market.
When we launched our advertising effectiveness suite of solutions years ago, we talked to the industry about campaign measurement of brand safety and audience through the lens of viewability, after filtering out all impressions that don’t have the opportunity to have an impact. However, the industry across the world often focused on viewability exclusively as a trading issue, rather than a foundational metric to all other key measures of advertising effectiveness.
The simple fact is: advertisers want to deliver impressions that appear on the screens of actual people, and have become disillusioned by the low viewability rates they have seen in the industry. But we must remember that viewability is a means to an end, not the end goal of a campaign itself.
By expanding access to viewability measurement, Comscore will help to restore trust and transparency to the industry, while allowing all of us to shift our focus back to these advertising metrics that matter. Viewability becomes the baseline – the foundation upon which we can evaluate viewable audience delivery, viewable GRPs, and viewable lift.
Further, by providing viewability measurement, Comscore is putting digital on the same “opportunity to see” playing field as TV. This will help create greater alignment between measurement of TV and digital campaigns, paving the way for broader adoption of cross-platform advertising measurement.
We should all focus on the metrics that will help marketers better understand and optimise their advertising campaigns. We do not have lengthy discussions on whether an ad was served or delivered, so in the same vein, let’s not talk about viewability anymore; it is table stakes.
Is it really free?
Yes, Comscore Viewability will be available for display and video campaigns as a free, self-service platform for media buyers and sellers. This means users will generate an ad tag, set up campaigns and then access measurement through an easy to access UI. Importantly, this offering uses the same tag and technology as MRC-accredited validated Campaign Essentials (vCE), which includes the removal of general and sophisticated invalid traffic (IVT), giving you clean viewability reporting. And, for clients interested in more robust verification reporting, such as brand safety, or demographic delivery insights, the full vCE offering is still available as a paid, full service solution.
We are proud to be leading this innovative initiative. In broadening access to viewability measurement, we look forward to helping the industry move towards cross-platform audience and advertising measurement.
*This product is not accredited at this time.