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Cross posted from Think with Google.

Last month at the IAB’s annual leadership meeting, viewability—a metric that shows whether an ad was actually viewed—was the topic on everyone’s mind. This is hardly a surprise. According to the “5 Factors of Viewability” research that we published in December, more than half of ads online today never even have a chance to be seen—something we can and must change. 

As many of you know, we’ve long been advocates of the industry adopting viewability as a currency, a common metric to help both marketers and publishers improve their business results.

And we’ve already come a long way. Forward-thinking publishers are introducing ad units designed for maximum viewability, and thousands of advertisers have taken advantage of viewability-based buying on the Google Display Network since we rolled it out last year. Brands and agencies are prioritizing viewability in their buys, and are seeing that doing so drives better results. 

In fact, in tests we ran this month, advertisers measuring viewability based on the MRC standard for display ads with our Active View technology found that viewable ads saw conversion rates improve by as much as 50%. These viewable ads, with a minimum of 50% in view for a minimum of one second, drove a brand lift of 10.3% while non-viewable ads didn't contribute to lift at all. The business impact to buying based on the MRC standard is real.

While we have made some progress, there is still significant work for us to do as an industry to establish viewability as a currency. The conversation has started to devolve from a collective agreement to tackle the viewability issue to debates over viewability rates and how to value viewable buys. It’s a bit like arguing over whether a recipe needs one egg or two while ignoring the fact that the oven has caught on fire. We are so close to effecting real change on this issue; let’s not lose our nerve now.

It is imperative that we, as an industry, take three major steps:

1. Focus on counting viewable impressions; viewability rates don’t matter

Marketers are not saying that they want a percentage of their campaign to be seen; rather, they are saying they want to pay only for viewable impressions. In this request, viewability rates don’t matter, but the actual number of measured viewable impressions does. 

We believe the industry needs to aspire to 100% viewability, full stop. This means buying and selling only viewable impressions. I understand this is a significant challenge, one we're working to solve on our own media properties; without a solution, however, viewable impressions cannot become a currency for the industry.

2. Adopt a single standard for viewability

It’s critical that our industry accepts a single viewability standard, common to all. Without that, it will be impossible to determine the true value of a viewed impression; create scale; or optimize, pace, and forecast inventory effectively. 

Through collective discussion and analysis, our industry and the MRC worked hard to build and agree on a standard definition of viewability, one that we support. But since doing so, not all of us have supported it, with some advertisers and publishers recently suggesting new definitions. What we cannot do as an industry is resort to building around multiple standards. 

The way to move forward now is to accept the long-discussed, hotly debated, yet proven standard set by our industry. There will be plenty of opportunities for our industry to make adjustments and updates as our understanding of viewability evolves, but we’ll never have that opportunity if we don’t collectively take this first step and establish a true currency. 

3. Resolve discrepancies in measurement 

Discrepancies and low measurability rates are not acceptable, yet today they exist when publishers and advertisers compare viewability vendors. To put an end to these discrepancies, we must not only adopt a common standard but also ensure a shared process and method of measurement. A liter of water is always the same regardless of who does the measurement. The same should be true for viewable impressions.

To get here, we must integrate measurement technology directly into ad serving, with viewability data appearing directly alongside other campaign metrics, accurately reconciled for buyers and sellers.

Looking ahead at viewability

As a technology, viewability is still in its earliest stages; there are many exciting opportunities for us to solve collectively. For example, viewability on mobile will be crucial as consumers spend more and more time on their smartphones. Secondary engagement metrics such as viewable time and audibility (after all, video is about sight, sound, and motion) can start to offer an even fuller picture of an ad’s effectiveness. But our industry won’t get there if we’re still debating the standard itself. 

The best technologies are those that delight their users and then just get out of the way. We’ve come to expect this, for example, in instantly mapping out a route in a new city on our phones or having lunch delivered with just a few taps. My hope is that a year from now, viewability will be a true currency—and just as expected and as simple for everyone. 

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Neal Mohan, 
Vice President of Display and Video Advertising Products

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This post is part of the Evolution of TV series. In this series we identify the risks and opportunities around 7 dynamics transforming the advertising landscape as TV programming shifts to delivery over the Internet.

The lines between TV and the web are blurring, as people increasingly watch TV online on all their devices and watch online video on their TV’s.

In part 1 of our Evolution of TV series, 7 Dynamics Transforming TV (articlePDF of whitepaper), we introduced the increasing shift of TV to delivery over the internet.

The proliferation of screens to “watch TV” on has given Broadcasters increased reach but at the expense of audience fragmentation. In Part 2, Reaching Audiences Across Screens, we discuss how scale, measurement, technology and brand safety come together to address the challenges and create huge opportunities for broadcasters, distributors and advertisers to grow their audiences and increase brand engagement.






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Anish Kattukaran
Product Marketing, DoubleClick Video & Brand Measurement

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Today’s consumer spends more time in digital than any other media, often while fluidly moving across screens. In the past three years alone, multi-screen media consumption has jumped by 500 percent, with 90 percent of consumers moving between one device and another to complete a task, whether it’s to shop, plan a trip or browse content. And the growth rates are stunning: on YouTube, more video content will be uploaded today than all three major networks created in the past five years.

Today at CES I announced two really exciting developments that will help turbocharge the future of video advertising:
  • First, more than 30 mainstays of video advertising--broadcasters, premium publishers and major brands--have joined our premium video marketplace, Google Partner Select and;
  • We’re rolling out viewability reporting across our ad platforms. This will, for the first time, inform brands whether their video ads on digital channels were actually seen or not (as opposed to, for example, appearing off-screen, going unwatched or being swiped past).
Our goal with both of these updates is to help marketers succeed in today’s world of media abundance by connecting them with consumers at the right time in the right place and enabling them to measure what truly matters.

An update on Partner Select
In June we introduced you to Google Partner Select, a premium video marketplace that brings together the best of brand advertising with the best of programmatic. Our goal was to create a marketplace of top-quality video content from the best producers. Today, we’re happy to share some of those partnerships.
Since launch, more than 30 broadcast and premium publisher brands have signed on including CBS Interactive, Fox News, Discovery, Animal Planet, TLC, HGTV, Food Network, Cooking Channel, Travel Channel, Hearst Television, Rolling Stone, Us Weekly, Men’s Fitness, and PGA Tour. These publishers are helping brands discover a wide range of their premium video content including full-episode shows, live sports & news, and short-form content across a broad range of audiences and content categories. And all of this inventory is exclusive to Google Partner Select.

We’ve also seen strong traction on the advertiser side with over 20 major brand advertisers, including iconic brands like Allstate, BMW and Netflix, and their agencies having signed significant commitments to buy through Google Partner Select. In our early tests, we've seen video ads running through Google Partner Select driving significant audience engagement with 74% video ad completion rates, demonstrating that when brands pick the right moments, engagement follows.

Viewability for Video
When it comes to impact, being seen is not just important, it’s fundamental. That’s why this time last year, we set a goal for ourselves to help make viewability a common currency across the industry. I’m encouraged that this issue is staying top of mind for so many and hope that marketers and publishers continue to push for the full transparency and accountability they deserve.

In our latest of ongoing investments in this area, in the coming days, we will start to offer viewability reporting for video campaigns available to all marketers and publishers using our DoubleClick platforms, as well as for the DoubleClick Ad Exchange. We’ll soon have this capability for reserved inventory on YouTube as well (including all of Google Preferred) across desktop and app views, a significant addition with so much viewership now happening in mobile. In the coming months, we’ll start offering the ability to target viewable impressions in DoubleClick, as well as the ability to buy only viewable video impressions across the Google Display Network. Later in the year, we also plan to report on audibility for video ads, as well as the total amount of time an ad was viewable.

We’re adhering to the industry definition for video viewability (as set by the MRC and Making Measurement Make Sense): 50% or more of the video being on screen for two seconds or longer.

Viewability, though, is just the starting point, not an end in and of itself. With the confidence that their ads can be seen by a real person, marketers can then go on to strive for--and measure--what really matters, impact and engagement. Along with our commitment to viewability, we’ll continue our investments in other ways to help marketers drive engagement, like our TrueView format (where advertisers only pay when consumers engage) and Brand Lift surveys, which help marketers measure the impact of their campaigns on their branding goals.

I’m incredibly excited about the future of digital video for brand building. No other medium brings together sight, sound and motion--and incredible measurability. This is the start of what we expect will be a year of leaps forward in the industry in making digital work for brand advertisers. So watch this space for more to come.

-- posted by Neal Mohan, Vice President, Video & Display Advertising

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This post is part of the Evolution of TV series. In this series we identify the risks and opportunities around 7 dynamics transforming the advertising landscape as TV programming shifts to delivery over the Internet.

Viewers increasingly want to watch their favorite TV shows anytime, anywhere, and on any screen. There's lots of TV content online, but hitting all three of those checkboxes isn't yet possible for every piece of programming. To do so requires a greater shift to delivering TV programming over the Internet rather than just over the air, satellite, or cable. Sounds simple, right? It's not. It is a massive shift that has game-changing implications for everyone involved.

This shift isn’t just impacting TV programmers and distributors, but also the viewers watching their favorite TV shows and sports teams across every screen, and the advertisers telling their brand stories against that content.

Today we are introducing the first part in a series called the Evolution of TV. In this series, DoubleClick and Google have identified 7 dynamics transforming the advertising landscape as TV programming shifts to delivery over the Internet. These 7 dynamics fall into three key areas:
  • Viewer engagement 
  • Delivery over the Internet and cloud 
  • Advertising 
Download the first part of the series now to learn the risks and opportunities associated with each of the 7 dynamics transforming the TV landscape and driving the shift of the $68 billion TV advertising industry.


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Anish Kattukaran
Marketing, DoubleClick Video

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With 2014 drawing to a close, we’re getting excited about what’s ahead in the new year. We’ll be ringing in 2015 at the International CES (Consumer Electronics Show) the first week of January. If you’re planning to go too, we’d like to invite you to come by C Space, the new destination at CES for publishers, advertisers, agencies, and content creators.

On the first day of the event (Tuesday, January 6th), Neal Mohan, Google’s VP of Display and Video Advertising Products, will be headlining C Space. In his keynote he’ll talk about how brands can make the most of video in a climate where consumers are easier to reach but harder to influence. He’ll discuss not only how to drive engagement but also how to measure the impact that it has on brand metrics.

Following his keynote, Neal will join Meredith Levien, EVP Advertising at The New York Times, in a fireside chat.

Learn more about C Space and check out the full agenda here.

Hope to see you there!
Tuesday, January 6th 2015
1 - 2 PM PT




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2014: IAB’s “Open Letter to Marketers” advocated for the universal adoption of HTML5. “Programmatic” became the ANA’s marketing word of the year. The MRC lifted its advisory on transacting on viewability. 

These are just some of the moments that moved our industry forward in 2014. “Digital Advertising in 2014: An Industry in Motion” recaps the ideas we congregated around as an industry, the technology we evolved to realize them, and the impact we saw from executing on them. Together with you, we:
  • Told stories through big, beautiful canvases everywhere
  • Evolved media buying 
  • Measured what matters with new metrics
  • Made digital easier for all of us
As we raise a toast to the year that was and look forward to 2015, we thank you for partnering with us and ensuring that we never stay still, that as an industry, we’re always in motion.

Get DoubleClick’s full 2014 recap here.

Posted by Yamini Gupta, Product Marketing team

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With the advancement of new technologies we now know that many display ads that are served never actually have the opportunity to be seen by a user. In fact in a recent study of Active View data by Google, we found that 56.1% of all ads served were not measured viewable. Yet, the average publisher’s viewability is 50.2%. This means a small number of publishers are serving the majority of non-viewable impressions and dragging down the served impression viewability average by almost 6%.
As advertisers shift to paying for viewable, rather than served impressions, it’s more important than ever to understand what drives the viewability of ads. To see all “5 factors of viewability” check out the full infographic and study at thinkwithgoogle.com.

Posted by Sanaz Ahari, Group Product Manager