2014, the year of viewability 2014, the year of viewability

2014, the year of viewability

by ,
on 10 August 2014


The new Display war horse seems to be real banner viewability.

As proof:

  • A number of articles discussing the subject (2014 will be the year of viewability)
  • The first studies presenting market figures (77% of web display ads are not seen)
  • The development of ad viewability measurement companies (Alenty, Integral Ad Science, Pixalate)
  • Or other ad agencies which are adding the indicator vCPM (cost per thousand viewable impressions)

At altima, we’ve been following this trend for the past few months, notably working with the trading desk Infectious Media. We chose this company because they are one of the leading players in Europe offering campaign optimization uniquely for viewable impressions (IAB standard: at least 50% of the surface of the banner shown on screen for 1 second). To ensure this, all banners circulating are audited by the Alenty tool, the leader on the ad viewability measurement market. Alenty results are then integrated directly into the Infectious Media campaign optimization algorithm.

So what?

We decided to set up a Display campaign with them for one of our historical clients in order to test this method. Beyond impact on sales, we also wanted to analyze the impact of viewability on different KPIs such as CTR (Click Through Rate) and CPM (Cost per Thousand(Mille) impressions) as well as the performance and profitability of the campaign.


As was expected, banner viewability has a direct impact on CPM. This is explained by the fact that spaces with the best viewability rate were generally located at the top of the page and sold for more money.


Otherwise, we noticed that better viewability generated better CTR, which is obvious (and the opposite would have been strange). However, there are other factors to take into consideration for the advancement of the CTR: banner format, broadcaster, etc.

Now let’s take a look at this new KPI proposed by the IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau): The vCPM which connects the viewability of the banner (v) with the CPM.


In our case, we’ve noticed that even a weak viewability rate (<30%), while costing more, improves the average vCPM by 2€.

The increase in CPM, which increases viewability by the 13th day, may seem expensive in the beginning. This cost is put into perspective with the new indicator vCPM: we pay more money for impressions but for better viewability.

Where is profitability in all of this?

As an agency focused on ROI, two other questions come up:

  • Does better viewability equal better performance?
  • Is the increase in CPM linked to a quest for better viewability beneficial or does it threaten the profitability of a campaign?

To answer these questions, we’ve linked volume of impressions, product page visits, and cost.


At the beginning of a campaign, the product page visit per impression rate is low and the CPM is high. This is normal because it takes time for the tool to optimize the campaign (which is what we’ve noticed during the first four days).

Next, we’ve lowered the CPM to broadcast more. This has a negative impact on the visit/impression rate: we buy for less, the campaign is less viewable, and thus campaign impact is less noticeable on product page traffic (from day 6 to 12).

On the 13th day, because the method of decreasing the purchase price wasn’t profitable, we concentrated our efforts on banner viewability rate optimization (increase in CPM). It was this process that paid out by improving the product page visit rate.


For that matter, we’ve understood that below a banner viewability rate of 30%, campaign profitability deceases (Day 7 to 12). A viewable impression is more expensive but is also higher performing and thus makes this investment more profitable. Just the same, there is a delay of a few days so that the increase in CPM makes the cost/product page visit profitable (the time for optimizations to go into effect + delay of campaign impact on internet users).

In conclusion

A viewable impression is an important KPI for improving campaign steering and vCPM. It’s the case for both branding and performance campaigns. vCPM looks to be the new KPI for ad campaigns!


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2014, the year of viewability