Agencies Acknowledge Viewability is Massive Problem

mobile-viewWhat are the biggest concerns for media agencies these days? Hands down, it’s viewability, and the problems are not going away.

It’s not easy working in digital buying and planning these days. Media agencies face a host of issues big enough to keep anyone awake at night, from ad fraud to ad blocking (the impact of which is only beginning to be felt in the U.S. and Europe), data challenges and loss of control in third-party environments.

So what’s the number one nightmare? According  to MediaLife Magazine, it’s whether or not the ads they buy are actually being viewed by humans.

“Viewability isn’t just a buzzword,” notes this recent article. “Though it’s thrown around a lot these days in discussions about digital advertising, it’s because agencies have real concerns about whether their ads are being seen.”

The article cites recent stats from eMarketer that show 70% of media buyers (and 78% of brand marketers) rank ad viewability a “level 8” concern or higher.  Yes, click fraud and ad blocking worry them, but not nearly as much as whether or not their ads are reaching eyeballs.

Rightly so, in my opinion. It’s clear that digital advertisers are getting ripped off, and viewability is a huge problem for mobile advertisers and video marketers.

It’s so bad that by some estimates up to 75% of the money spent on digital ads is utterly wasted.

“For every dollar spent, only 40 cents reach actual consumers. Let’s say that of that 40 cents you lose another 25% to bot fraud,” explains Maarten Albarda in MediaPost. “That is 30 cents that actually reach consumers. But wait, one in five (?) people now use ad blockers, so take another 20% away. That leaves you with only 24 cents for every dollar spent on digital advertising that can generate potential consumer impact.”

There’s no doubt that the digital ad industry is broken. The real question is what can brands and agencies to do 1) fix it; 2) restore consumer confidence; and 3) begin to accurately measure digital ad success in terms of real actions.

Considering the fact that the least important issue to these same media agencies is consumer privacy (only 27% think it’s of much concern at all, yet it’s at the heart of the ad blocking backlash), any industry-wide solution seems far, far away.