comScore published the results of a study they did with a number of major advertisers on the subject of ad delivery. While the study came out last week, it feels as if there is a bit of a drumbeat starting to happen and I thought I’d join the band (hey – we’re always out front here at the screed). There is an excellent summary of the study on Exchange Wire and if you care to read the entire thing you can download it by clicking through here. In brief, to get a better handle on the issues associated with display ad delivery and validation as well as to test-drive comScore’s method for this validation called vCE, twelve leading marketers participated in a U.S.-based charter study, called the vCE Charter Study.
The biggest point to come from the study, which seems to be the headline on the growing number of blog posts that reference it, is that 31% of ads delivered were never seen by a consumer. It also called out that 72 percent of the campaigns studied had some ads running beside “unsafe” content as determined by the advertiser and that a small percentage (4%) of ads targeted to the US ran outside the country.
For a medium that touts itself as highly measurable and targeted, these aren’t great results. Then again, none of the articles I’ve found put these numbers into any sort of context. How does this compare to print, for example? As we’ve said before, stats by themselves are pretty meaningless unless you have something with which to compare them. There is also an interesting nugget that surfaces about ads running lower on pages, or “below the fold.” There is a common misperception that ads delivered “above-the-fold“ are seen, while ads delivered “below-the-fold” are not. Surprisingly, the findings demonstrate that some ads delivered “above-the-fold” were not seen because users quickly scrolled past them before the ad had a chance to load, and many ads placed “below-the-fold” delivered a high opportunity to be seen. This might mean that inventory “below-the-fold” can be priced as premium as long as the publisher can prove it was viewed.
To me this all screams out for some human intervention. Digital ad buying has become a mechanized world as one ad platform talks to another and humans stay out of the mix for the most part. Buyers need to examine sites for more than their audiences. Sellers need to pay attention to the analytics that show more than traffic but also “heat maps” of usage. Both sides need to do a better job of quality control. One can question comScore’s motives a bit since they’re also selling a delivery validation tool that will allow for both sides of the digital media equation to get more accurate numbers. Commendable, I guess, but I wish there was some way to redo the numbers based on more human involvement as well as to compare the results with TV and print “opportunities to view.”
What are your thoughts?
Filed under: digital media, Helpful Hints Tagged: | Above the fold, advertising, Advertising and Marketing, comScore, Digital marketing, digital media, Display advertising, Marketing and Advertising, Online advertising, vCE Charter Study