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Half of senior digital execs say IAB/MRC viewability standards inadequate

Inconsistent approaches across vendors seen as industry’s biggest issue

London, 15 September 2015 – Half of senior agency and publisher executives, interviewed in-depth for a study on the present and future of online ad viewability, believe the standards set by the IAB and Media Rating Council are not an adequate measure of viewability.

The report, produced by ad technology company InSkin Media and consultancy FaR Partners, reveals that only about a third (37%) think the official guideline – that 50% of an ad has to be in view for one second, to be deemed viewable – is sufficient.

While half think this standard is insufficient in general, this rises to nearly two-thirds (63%) for larger, non-standard ad formats – particularly skins and wallpapers.

The most important factor senior decision-makers say will help create an effective viewability standard is “consistent measurement approaches across vendors” – scoring 8.3 out of 10 (10 being the maximum level of importance).

The research was prompted after asking several leading vendors to measure the viewability of InSkin’s non-standard ad formats, according to the current standards.  The results ranged from a staggering 5% to 85%, which proves how far we need to go in order to develop consistency in measurement practices and improve standards across the industry,” said Steve Doyle, InSkin’s Chief Commercial Officer.

In fact, with the average percentage of ads viewable across campaigns run by agencies involved in the study at 65%, nearly 9 in 10 (85%) respondents said inconsistent measurement approaches lead to discrepancies in campaigns, and confusion about viewability in-market.

Is trading on viewable impressions realistic?

Opinion on the feasibility of an industry-wide vCPM model is extremely divided. Over half (53%) of the interviewees do not think that “all brand advertising” formats will ever be bought on a viewable impression basis. However, nearly 1 in 5 (18%) believe it will happen within a year.

As with creating an effective viewability standard, interviewees agree that “consistent measurement approaches across vendors” is also the key factor to make a vCPM model a reality (score 8.4 out of 10), followed by “viewability standard addressing all ad formats” (7.8).

Doyle comments, “Clearly there’s a disconnect between the viewability standards themselves and our collective ability to effectively measure all digital ad formats – particularly non-standard, online branding formats.  A solution which is gaining traction, is an open-source approach, that is, one not owned by any single entity.  In theory, this progressive approach scored 7.5 out of 10 on an effectiveness scale.

A positive of the viewability issue

Despite the ongoing challenges in viewability measurement, of those surveyed, 80% said that the debate is leading to a welcome wider discussion about engagement metrics for online ads.

The metrics that leading buyers and sellers of online ads want to see more prominent in the market are ‘time spent’ (44% cited it in the top 3) followed by brand recall (37%) and engagement (32%).

The report, and its implications, will be debated at InSkin’s seminar entitled “Viewability: Transparency, Trust and Meaningful Measurement”, with FaR Partners, at dmexco on Thursday 17 September.  Panellists include MediaCom, CBS Interactive and viewability analytics company Moat.


About InSkin Media

InSkin Media is an advertising technology business, specialising in high-impact, non-intrusive brand advertising formats.

Founded in the UK in 2009, the company is a market leader in rich-media display and video advertising, and employs 75 staff across its London, Hamburg, Sydney, Singapore and Hong Kong offices. Partnering with over 150 publishers, InSkin represents over 700 premium websites, globally, and has delivered successful campaigns for over 700 blue-chip brand clients.

In November 2014, InSkin Media was invited to join the ‘Scale Up Club’, a group of companies identified as having £100m turnover potential within 3-5 years, by Silicon Valley angel investors. In 2013, InSkin Media was named Best Media Owner in the IPA Media Owner Awards, having been rated as top company in the IPA Media Owner Survey that April. In 2012, InSkin Media won three British Media Awards; InSkin won Media Momentum’s Award as the fastest-growing digital business in Europe in 2011, and has since remained in its top 50 high-growth businesses.

For further information, please visit or contact:

Fran Cowan:

T: 020 3301 9099






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