Viewable Ad Net Expands Into Platform, Offers Publishing Industry Its Own ‘VaaS’ Model
Duration Media, which founded a marketplace based on trading only the most viewable inventory offered by top-tier premium publishers, is now launching a platform for publishers that want to manage it themselves.
The platform, which Duration Media Founder and CEO Andy Batkin dubs a VaaS — or a “Viewability as a Service” — model, initially is being offered to larger publishers, but Batkin says a new long-tail version will be integrated with WordPress enabling both small and large publishers to make a market out of their most viewable advertising impressions.
The platform was a natural outgrowth of the data and technology that Duration Media created to enable the viewable inventory marketplace it launched with — effectively, an ad network comprised of 450 big content publishers.
The method effectively inserts a new ad impression after the original ad completes its required 30 seconds served on a page. Importantly, those units are only served in inventory known to index as highly viewable, based on the ad industry’s standard definition (50% or more of its pixels in view for two-seconds or longer for a video ad unit).
Batkin says the method delivers inventory that is about 90% viewable based on the industry standard, and that marketplace and/or the VaaS service enable publishers to “mine” upwards of 40% incremental ad impressions.
More importantly, the approach helps both publishers and advertisers discriminate high-quality vs. low-quality viewable impressions that may not otherwise be detectable via DSPs (demand-side platforms) and exchanges that are bought programmatically.
The reason, he says, is that many publishers utilize secondary resellers of their inventory — companies like Outbrain or Taboola — whose impressions aren’t in the same highly viewable locations as the ones sold directly by the publisher’s sales organization or technology.
To illustrate this point, Batkin cites data compiled by programmatic ad-market analyst Jounce Media delineating how viewability differs based on who is selling the inventory, in-house or other “intermediaries” (see chart above).
While Duration Media’s marketplace also is an intermediary, it’s one based only on selling the most viewable ad impressions, and now it is offering its technology for publishers to use themselves.
“What Duration has done is that when a user has a high dwell time on a page, it basically runs another auction to serve a second ad unit to them,” explains Jounce Founder Chris Kane, adding: “Eventually most good web publishers will do the same thing — it’s just a question of whether they do it themselves or do it with partners like Duration [Media].”
Batkin says the WordPress integration will be available to small and mid-size publishers beginning next month.
Duration Media: a win/win for advertisers and publishers
Mobile Marketing Magazine sat down with Andy Batkin, CEO of Duration Media, to discuss why viewability is the most important factor when it comes to digital advertising.
MM: Why did you start Duration Media?
AB: Duration Media was started because we had been seeing that many brands were, in effect, pounding the table, upset with the leadership of the digital advertising world. They were aggravated at the fact that despite investing billions of dollars on their digital advertising there was still so much fraud. More importantly, a significant portion of their marketing budgets was being wasted on purchasing ads that were not actually being seen.
As a result, we spent time with brands asking them what they would consider to be the best solution for us to create, a solution that would enable them to feel comfortable that their dollars were being spent wisely. Ultimately, we created a product that simultaneously benefits brands while at the same time benefiting publishers. Publishers are able to increase their inventory and revenue while we can prove to advertisers that their ads are actually viewed by a human for up to 30 seconds of in-view time, in brand-safe and fraud-free environments.
MM: What relationship do you see between viewability and ad fraud?
AB: We think the most important thing is to offer a brand is the assurance that their ad is going to be viewed. Impressions purchased from the Duration Media Marketplace average 86.3 per cent viewability as measured by third-party services. It is equally crucial for the advertiser to know their ad is not only being viewed, but also that it’s in a brand-safe, fraud-free environment.
The fact that we vet premium publishers before they become part of our marketplace means we are assuring brands that our technology is on the pages of legitimate, non-fraudulent websites. We aren’t spoofing brands to spend money where there isn’t a human-being involved. It’s important not only that an ad be viewable, but also appear in a trustworthy environment.
MM: How does guaranteed viewability affect CPM price?
AB: What we’re seeing in the marketplace right now is a movement towards vCPM, or viewability CPM. As an example, a $7.50 CPM on a site with only 50 per cent viewability equates to a $15.00 vCPM. However, viewability of 85 per cent computes to about $8.30. The vCPM measurement therefore allows marketers to better understand the true cost and value of their digital advertising investment.
MM: Is there empirical data that supports a higher value for viewable ads?
AB: Yes, the research that is available has found that when an ad has been viewed for 20 seconds or longer, brand awareness increases by 334 per cent when compared to an ad that is 50 per cent in-view for just one second, not to mention an ad that is non-viewable. We are now seeing many advertisers turn to our offering for branding purposes. We’re also receiving demand from performance advertisers. It is clearly logical that performance KPIs are going to be more robust, because an ad that has been seen is going to perform better than one that is not.
MM: Can you tell me more about how increasing viewability for below the fold (BTF) ad units benefits publishers’ overall viewability ranking?
AB: When the header bidding is executed, there are already a number of below the fold (BTF) ads that have been purchased. Most of them, of course, receive low CPMs, because the bidder doesn’t know if that ad is ever going to be viewed, and in fact for the most part, the majority of those ads are never viewed. The ad units that do become viewable during engaged user sessions are the only ones that we deliver to our marketplace.
More importantly, we provide the advertiser an exclusive opportunity to purchase only these highly viewable ads. For a website with a viewability score of 50-60 per cent, delivering ads that are currently averaging 86.3 per cent viewability will without question increase their overall viewability score. helping them to increase their overall CPMs via a much higher viewability ranking.
MM: Why has Duration Media chosen to focus primarily on BTF, poorly performing ad units?
AB: We know from experience that there are many more highly viewable impressions below the fold than there are above the fold. We know that we can increase the amount of inventory and therefore revenue for publishers by leveraging this potential. We correctly believed that it would be best to focus on a product that would benefit the publisher as much as it would benefit the brands. We have learned after years of focusing on viewability that an average of nearly 40 per cent of BTF ad units become viewable during engaged user sessions. The upside for publishers (in addition to raising overall viewability metrics) is an increase of inventory and revenue of between 20-40 per cent.
MM: How does Duration Media guarantee that its marketplace supply consists exclusively of premium, brand-safe content?
AB: What we do is we carefully vet each and every publisher. Bruce Brandfon, our chief media officer, likes to say, “raise your hand if you would like to join the Duration Media highly viewable marketplace.” However not every website will qualify, because our strategic goal is to occupy the high end of the digital industry’s gene pool. Providing exclusively highly viewable inventory within only premium publisher websites enables us to deliver on our promise of brand- safe, fraud-free environments. All of this has allowed us to create a world-class offer and a win/win solution for the industry.
MM: What makes the Duration Media solution unique?
AB: We are delivering on our promise of providing only highly viewable inventory in fraud-free and brand-safe environments, within premium publisher environments. What’s also unique is that we find, mine and monetize only highly viewable impressions. As our technology identifies in real-time impressions that become viewable during engaged user sessions, we are able to conduct a second, real-time auction that takes place after header-bidding has been completed. This enables multiple demand sources to bid simultaneously for this highly viewable inventory that results in increased CPMs for our publishers. Duration Media is the only company in the industry with this capability.
We’re providing multiple demand sources an exclusive opportunity to bid for the specific audience they’re targeting across a large and rapidly growing supply of premium audiences. Additionally, each piece of inventory that we’re offering in the marketplace is available only through Duration Media’s Marketplace.
MM: How do you know that the impressions and revenue you generate for publishers is 100 per cent incremental?
AB: As an example, if a publisher has 100m impressions a month, Duration Media will be able to find, mine and monetize an additional 40m highly viewable impressions that did not exist before our technology was placed on the publisher’s page. The fact is that 100 per cent of this inventory and revenue has been created by implementing Duration Media’s technology solution.