GroupM debuts global viewability standards backed by Unilever, Volvo and Subway

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WPP’s media arm GroupM has announced the global rollout of viewability standards which have been backed by clients including Unilever, Campbell Soup, Shell, Subway and Volvo.

It’s an update to standards that GroupM set in 2014. Then, it required that 100% of the pixels in a display ad must be in view (for any amount of time) and for video, that 50% of the video must be played at the user’s initiation, with the sound on, while 100% in view.

In what it described as an “evolution” for video ads in social and other newsfeed “environments” (where the is “quick scrolling by users”), it will now require that an ad is 100% of an ad is in view for at least one-second.

GroupM said it will study the performance of ads against this new standard with its global clients and partners, measuring more than 100 data points with DoubleVerify, Moat and IAS across Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest and Snapchat to see which are most meaningful.

In addition, the global media agency said it is “in active dialogue” with all digital media partners worldwide about viewability measurement and delivery of the new global standards.

“Our ambition is to offer clients the absolute best quality digital media in every market,” said John Montgomery, executive vice president of brand safety at GroupM, in a statement.

“By working with clients and progressive media and technology partners, we can help shape the digital marketplace for the better, as we have seen in the US. It was always our goal to operate around a consistent standard globally and following many months of partner dialogue, now is the right time for us move forward with these enhanced standards that consider the evolution in social and mobile platforms, as well as user behaviors.”

Aaron Fetters, senior vice president at ComScore added that these enhanced metrics will help also marketers properly evaluate the relative value of each screen, and the context in which a campaign is delivered.

“Only then can media buyers build truly cost-effective campaigns and execute on impactful cross-media strategies,” Fetters continued.

According to global verification providers, as much as 50% of all digital ads are not viewable, representing a significant risk to advertising clients.

Unilever’s chief marketing officer Keith Weed said it was in full support GroupM’s ongoing assessment in this space “to reflect changes in consumer behavior and available ad formats and to ensure full accountability and verification.”

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