Viewability Standard Insufficient, Poll Finds SQAD survey favors increase to five seconds of screen time for online ads

By: Jon Lafayette

June 2, 2015

The standard for online viewability of online video commercials is not good enough for most advertising executives, according to a new study.

Current rules call an ad viewable if 50% of its pixels are visible for at least two seconds, but 82% said that was insufficient, according to a survey conducted by SQAD, a company that provides data for managing advertising investments.

Of those polled, 49% thought that video ads should be displayed for at least five seconds to be deemed viewable. Only 18% said the current standard was acceptable.

Advertisers have been putting more of their advertising dollars into online video because they believe it can be better targeted and offers more accountability than traditional TV. But new issues, including the viewability issue and the potential that ads are being watched by bots, not people, have raised concerns about digital advertising.

If online ads fail to achieve the viewability standard, advertisers decline to pay for them.

During their recent upfront presentations to advertisers, executives of several of the major broadcast networks raised viewability as something that should be thought about before switching budgets from TV.

“Attempting to tackle the issue of finding a standard definition of viewability is an extremely complex and difficult task, especially in the current dynamic and evolving media marketplace. Despite the challenges, it is reassuring to know that the IAB, ANA, 4As, and the MRC continue their efforts to achieve a consensus regarding an acceptable definition for all parties that accurately reflects the way digital ads are being viewed and consumed, ” said SQAD CEO Neil Klar.

The survey also found that media executives are still familiarizing themselves with the cost of in-stream video advertisements. They know more about the cost of display ads.