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5 Tips to Optimize Viewable Inventory
Sep 24, 2014
The industry pressures on publishers to offer viewable impressions are ever increasing.  More and more advertisers are demanding the ability to purchase and measure viewable inventory...  and currently there are no signs this emerging advertiser expectation will change course.  Publishers will need to either provide media purchases based strictly on viewable impressions or guarantee advertiser campaigns will yield a minimal ad viewability rate.

An impression being a viewable impression is binary... meaning it's either viewable or it's not.  The most important viewability concept for publishers to grasp is an impression that is not viewable has no value and cannot generate revenue.

what viewable impressions mean for publishersConsidering the additional overhead publishers typically incur in utilizing third-party viewability measurement vendors, and in combination with the reduction in overall billable impressions associated with offering viewable impressions as compared to traditional CPM inventory, publishers certainly bear the majority of risk regarding the industry's shift towards viewability.  Below are a few tactics publishers can leverage to greatly increase revenues when offering viewable impressions.

5.  Introduce vCPM Pricing at a Premium with Great Incentives

Understanding a given web site's natural average viewability rates by general ad unit size and placement is great data for determining initial pricing for your viewable inventory.  Though a practical step would be to use a viewability measurement vendor for a brief period on a subset of your traffic to assist with deriving the basic data needed to establish initial pricing on your vCPM inventory, Adosia Publishers can easily determine vCPM premium pricing using the Adosia Publisher Network's integrated ad viewability measurement.

Though above the fold ad units typically yield favorable viewability rates, publishers should expect to earn a ~10-20% premium on viewable impression inventory above the fold.  The real opportunity for publishers is to leverage below the fold like never before, which is discussed in greater detail below.

Once you have an idea of a site's average viewability rates relevant to ad placement, a safe formula for calculating vCPM premium pricing for individual ad unit placements would be:

vCPM = [current unit CPM] / [average unit view rate]

Using the above formula will yield revenues relatively equivalent to existing CPM revenues achieved prior to migrating to viewable impressions.  This is the safest approach for a publisher when establishing vCPM pricing, though advertisers agreeing to such pricing would only be paying a premium for the reassurance associated with viewable impressions, and would not realize much difference in overall campaign ROI.

A bolder approach would be to incentivize advertisers by implementing a vCPM pricing formula similar to the following:

vCPM = [current unit CPM] / [average unit view rate + 20%]

The above vCPM pricing formula provides advertisers a highly attractive incentive to purchase your viewable inventory.  Here advertisers will benefit not only from the reassurance of buying viewable impressions, but also from a significant increase in campaign ROI.  Of course providing this generous advertiser incentive involves implementing another clever step or two in parallel for a publisher to greatly surpass current CPM revenues with viewable impressions...

4.  Integrate Dynamic Ad Rotation

dynamic display ad rotationPublishers can offset the decrease in overall inventory attributed to viewable impressions by implementing dynamic rotation (refreshing ads).  Ad rotation must always be incorporated thoughtfully and responsibly, and display ads should typically only be rotated when certain specific conditions are met. For example, it may be acceptable to rotate an ad after within view for ~30-60 seconds and only if a visitor is not currently engaged with the ad unit, or if a certain amount of time has passed, AND a significant amount of new content has been dynamically loaded to the web page.  Be sure to check with your ad network and exchange partners to ensure compliance with their terms before attempting to integrate ad rotation technology (Adosia addresses rotation on a case-by-case basis).

3.  Offer Real-Time Content Targeting

If an individual visiting a web site is engaged with the content that site delivers, it's fairly safe to assume that visitor is genuinely interested in that content.  Similar assumptions are made with search engine marketing.  When an inquiring mind types in a search query, advertisers safely assume that individual has a genuine interest in acquiring information relevant to their search query.

Delivering targeted ads based on the content being consumed in real-time will psychologically influence visitor engagements with display ads which are truly relevant to the content.  When implemented correctly, real-time content targeting serves as a powerful sales tool publishers can leverage with advertisers and will favorably impact vCPM premiums.

Imagine while reading an article presenting advice on how to best negotiate purchasing a car, you are presented various automotive ads, such as factory or dealer ads, or even promotions for car insurance.  People are much more likely to engage an advertisement if they have a genuine interest in the relevant product offering.  By targeting content with ads in real-time, there's no need to be dependent on the content having been previously scanned by crawlers (hence real time, and the opportunity for advertisers' display campaigns to immediately convert increases drastically given the automated pairing of individuals' interests with advertiser offerings.

2.  Regularly Review Ad Unit Viewability Rates

It's important to understand any given publisher's viewable impression inventory is not predictable and will certainly vary from month-to-month or even from day-to-day.  This is due to ad viewability rates being dependent on numerous dynamically changing factors - including a mesh of consumer behaviors, differing ad placements and variations in content presentation.

Regularly reviewing viewability rates will assist publishers with identifying any specific ad unit placements which may benefit from repositioning in order to achieve better viewability.  Remember, viewability rates are directly proportionate to the revenues a publisher generates.

1.  Optimize Ad Real-Estate Below the Fold - Unobtrusively

increase viewable inventoryThis is the secret sauce to exploding publisher revenues with viewable impressions.  Content length is dynamic, so it makes little sense to deploy a static number of ad placements on any given page across an entire web asset.  The trick here is to unobtrusively display additional ads as each visitor scrolls down any given page.

The unobtrusive part is important.  The more obtrusive the ad delivery, the more likely page views will be abandoned before a viewable impression can ever be recorded.  By loading additional ads in a subtle manner as visitors consume the relevant content, a publisher can boost overall viewable inventory as much as 2 to 3 times or even more.

Optimizing viewable inventory and real estate below the fold is a huge opportunity in light of viewable impressions and should be thoroughly explored.

The Future of Viewable Impressions

Viewable impressions will significantly disrupt the display advertising industry while providing fantastic new opportunities for both publishers and advertisers.  Publishers adopting the right approach to implementing a viewable impression model have just as much (if not more) to gain as advertisers.  One thing's for sure, Transacting on Viewability is here to stay.

The Adosia platform seamlessly provides everything a publisher needs to execute all revenue-increasing techniques outlined above.  Reach out with any inquires by giving us a call at (800) 887-7608 or drop us a line in the comments below.
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