Watch This: PSA campaign promotes viewability

Industry challenges digital ad ecosystem to join it in raising awareness

The Making Measurement Make Sense (3MS) initiative has launched a public service campaign to inform advertisers and industry stakeholders about the large proportion of digital ads that aren’t seen by consumers, and the technology advertisers can use to make more of their ads viewable.

“One third of digital ads can’t be seen,” 3MS’s 30-second spots proclaim (which is actually a conservative estimate). The ads implore marketers to learn more about the IAB’s viewability standard, which describes the appropriate tools and methodology for determining how much of a campaign is in-view.

3MS is a cooperative effort of the U.S. Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s), and the Association of National Advertisers (ANA). Ultimately, 3MS envisions a digital marketing ecosystem that trades on viewable impressions — meaning advertisers only pay for ads that have a chance to be seen by real people. It’s already starting to happen.

As part of the campaign, 3MS is challenging marketers and tech professionals to create PSAs that dramatize the impacts of viewability, as in the ad below, and in a new spot released last week. The contest winner will be selected by a panel of agency, marketer and publisher judges, and announced at the IAB’s fall MIXX conference in New York.

At the end of this month, the Media Ratings Council, which is also a involved in the 3MS initiative, will take down an advisory warning that viewability measurement in video is not ready for widespread use — effectively giving the go-ahead for advertisers to buy digital video on viewable impression basis. A similar advisory on viewability in display was lifted in March. Taking down the video advisory will be the last step in creating a fully-fleshed industry standard for viewability.

The next step is to encourage marketers, agencies, publishers and technology platforms to adopt the standard. “While the industry has recognized the need to shift … to a metric that provides more meaning in the digital landscape, we are now faced with the challenge of raising awareness and encouraging adoption of the new viewable impression guidelines,” said Duke Fanelli, a representative of 3MS, as well as CMO of the ANA, in a release about the campaign.

New anti-malware initiative

Also last week, the U.S. IAB launched a task force dedicated to detecting and removing malware that’s used in botnet fraud. The unit will help companies prepare for and respond to malware attacks, which infect large numbers of computers with programs that generate fake traffic on digital ads. The resulting networks of infected computers, called botnets, are thought to be the most prominent source of ad fraud.

Rooting out infected computers is a new tack in the IAB’s ongoing efforts to stop online ad fraud, but it’s a daunting, and growing, challenge. The size of that challenge is clear from the large number of infected computers in the U.S. and around the world, a problem the entire digital security industry has to date been completely unable to root out.

Correction: An earlier version of this story attributed the campaign to the IAB. However, the campaign was launched by 3MS, and backed by the 4A’s and ANA as well.

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