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If our industry had a buzzword bingo card, “viewability” would be on it. It dominates our daily conversations, overshadowing other important factors that are required to ensure true ad quality.

Conversant has been at the forefront of mobile viewability since 2006, when we built an advanced platform to minimise network latency and deliver 100% viewable in-app ads. We’ve never counted in-app impressions unless those ads were actually viewable.

We were well ahead of the curve in this regard, and we’ve watched with interest as the industry’s conversation about viewability measurement has evolved over time. At first, it largely revolved around what viewability rates were realistic under the existing parameters. Recently the debate has shifted from being about what viewability rates advertisers should expect to who should actually measure those rates.

While we’ve provided 100% in-app viewability for years, we realise that some brands want third-party measurement. So we’ve partnered with in-app measurement companies like Integral Ad Science.

As proud as I am to say that we can now offer clients a 100% in-app viewability guarantee backed by third-party verification, I’m even prouder that we’re leading the conversation on a much larger topic: ad quality.

In his recent article published by MediaPost (“6 Predictions for 2016“), Conversant SVP of Products, Raju Malhotra, summed it up when he said, “We talk about viewability as if it exists separately from ad fraud and brand safety. They are important on their own, but it’s the sum of the parts—ad quality—that leads to greater results. Focusing on viewability in the absence of ad quality will lead you to unintended outcomes.”

Think about it. What good is a viewable impression that’s being viewed by a bot? What about a viewable impression that’s delivered next to questionable content that could negatively impact your brand?

Simply put, when advertisers buy media in a digital environment, they should demand that:

  • The impressions are viewable.
  • Real people are viewing the ads.
  • The media appears next to brand-appropriate content.
  • Ads should only be considered high-quality when all of these criteria are met, not just the first one.

I’m not suggesting that marketers stop talking about viewability—far from it. But don’t talk about it at the expense of focusing on the bigger picture.