Data and Insights

IAB Research Morning

Back in February, the IAB hosted a Research Morning which presented attendees with industry insights. The session had some thought provoking information about the way Viewability is being assessed by InSkin media and was followed by some new research by the IAB on what the dominating screen is in the modern living room.

Viewability – moving towards meaningful metrics

Below are the current standards for Viewability set by the IAB. The industry is facing challenges in regards to these Viewability measurements, which according to research were along the themes of inconsistency, incompleteness and incongruence.  

The current IAB viewability standards


Inconsistency – Do vendors matter?

With 16 different vendors, there is inconsistency in how viewability is measured. To assess the opportunity of an ad being viewed, there are different approaches that can be taken. Vendors use various approaches which leads to a concern in the industry around inconsistency. In the Digital Leadership Viewability Survey*, inconsistency scored 8.3 out of 10 showing the importance of this factor when considering viewability measurements.


*FaR Partners, Digital Leadership Viewability Survey

Incompleteness – Does one size fit all?

Viewability is currently assessed by measuring the proportion of the ad that has been viewed in relation to its total size. InSkin media found that this meant that while an ads creative message may be viewed in the active viewport, the viewability can vary a lot depending on the height of the page.  A survey concluded that 63% of senior digital executives consider the current standards inadequate for custom formats*.

*FaR Partners, Digital Leadership Viewability Survey


The relevant industry bodies are aware of this and have called for further study into evaluating the viewability thresholds.

Incongruence – Are they meaningful metrics?

Since its introduction, the viewability measurement has been criticised by many in the industry in that is does not truly measure the effectiveness of the ad. The measurement was introduced to assess an ads opportunity to be seen rather than the impact the ad made which is a common misconception.

The IAB viewability standards are set as a guideline and whilst there is a case for tweaks to be made to them, it can be argued that a standard viewability measurement is important for the industry. Without some sort of industry standard, it is hard to understand what a viewed impression is as well as complication around optimisation and forecasting. 

Lessons learnt

  • Clients are starting to understanding viewability and we want to report on this accurately meaning the debate can impact what we report to the client.
  • 3rd party solutions may be used more and more such as Integral Ad Science by Microsoft.

Source: Viewability: moving towards meaningful metrics (InSkin Media)

Real Living – the decline of the TV-centric living room

Using an online survey, passive monitoring of devices and an ethnographic study this new piece of research debunks 3 common myths about digital interaction in the modern living room.

Myth 1 - TV is the dominant living room screen and entertainment the dominant activity

  • 70% of people surveyed said they use a connected device whilst watching TV and only 50% of UK adults said the TV screen was the main focal point in their living room during this time.
  • During the programmes, one third check emails, instant messenger and 25% shop online.
  • Through the ethnographic data, the levels of engagement were measured showing that 60% of high levels of engagement came from non-TV related activity.

Myth 2 – TV programmes and ad breaks determine behaviour

  • Non-TV related activity is no longer crammed into the ad break time.
  • There is consistency in the percentage of people checking emails in ad breaks and when the TV programme is on.
  • The modern living room behaviour is determined by a normal rhythm of device usage and is no longer TV-centric.

Myth 3 – People are multi-tasking and multi-screening?

  • The ethnographic study showed that people were experiencing high levels of engagement when they interacted with the TV and non-TV activity with an even split.
  • People are switch-screening as they move between screens experiencing high levels of engagement with all activities.

Lessons learnt:

  • The view that ‘Content is king’ is backed up as people can see high levels of engagement whilst interacting with a range of devices and channels. This shows the importance of quality content to capture the increasingly smaller slices of a user’s attention in the modern living room.
  • A cross-platform strategy should be taken to engage since people are switch screening. This could create interest and can then impact purchase behaviour.
  • Many TV programmes are using this to create engagement with the programme whilst it is on. This ensures people are hooked to the same programme just on different devices as they are ‘switch-screening’. 
  • TVTY is a platform that aims to trigger digital advertisements once something has been shown on TV. It links the online and offline activity for a greater impact. From this, we can see that the future may be tying together activity, which enforces the trend of the modern living room. 

Source: The decline of the TV-centric living room (IAB)

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