comScore CEO Dr. Magid Abraham spoke on the subject of ad impressions at the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s Annual Leadership Meeting. According to him, an unlimited number of display ad impressions hurts the economics of advertising.
“The solution is to introduce digital scarcity to the system,” he said. “[In order to achieve digital scarcity, companies should] only count impressions that reach a real user and have a chance to make an impact.”
He outlined four criteria for ads that should be standard: that the ad is not fraudulent, that it’s displayed in a brand-safe environment, that it’s delivered in its target geography and that impressions are only counted when the ad is in view. In particular the last criteria is important to the “Making Measurement Make Sense” initiative.
The effort is seeking to transition from counting served impressions in favor of counting viewable impressions; the thinking goes that advertisers shouldn’t pay for ads that consumers never scroll down and see. “There are more impressions than will ever be budgeted,” said Andrew Casale, vp of strategy at ad network Casale Media.
“To go to publishers and say, ‘We need you to cut your inventory in half’ when they are not selling out today [but] in hopes that they’ll now sell out is just reverse intuitive,” said Casale. “That’s going to be the biggest challenge.”
It’s a tough sell to ask publishers to reduce monetization opportunities, but Casale is a champion of viewable impressions nonetheless. “Less is more even in the [real-time bidding] exchange ecosystem because we have too much right now, so we have to cut away and something like a viewable impression really speaks to that,” he said.