Google’s DoubleClick ad platform and the Internet analytics firm comScore are today launching a new service that they hope will allow digital ad campaigns to be managed alongside others, such as ones for TV.
At the same time, DoubleClick is adding a new metric aimed at improving one of digital advertising’s greatest problems: viewability.
The companies are announcing that comScore’s vCE — or validated Campaign Essentials — is now out of beta for DoubleClick, and it is offering several industry-comparable measurements. These include total impressions and impressions per age group or gender.
This effort builds on last year’s announcement that the two companies were working toward creating GRP, or gross rating point, measurements for digital media so it can be compared with GRP in other media.
GRP is a measurement of impressions compared to the defined audience of a campaign — that is, how many times a certain percentage of a targeted audience sees an ad.
This is “the first independent, completely tagless, audience delivery measurement service” on DoubleClick, group product manager Sanaz Ahari posted today on the DoubleClick blog. The new service is available initially to U.S. brands, through Doubleclick Digital Marketing and DoubleClick for Publishers.
Advertisers will now be able to see “if they’re reaching their target audience as it happens,” and publishers will be able to tweak ad placement and other factors in real time, according to the DoubleClick announcement.
But, Forrester analyst Susan Bidel pointed out to me, “Unless the advertisers let the publishers know what the KPI [key performance indicators] are, [the new comScore measurements] don’t make much difference.” In other words, publishers may now have more information, but they still won’t know what each advertiser is trying to accomplish.
The new measurements, DoubleClick said, are supposed to help marketers answer essential questions about their digital campaigns, such as:
Did someone actually see my ad? And was it the right audience?
GRP is supposed to help with the second question. The answer to the first question involves the viewability issue.
Viewability is a continuing scandal for the digital ad industry. A recent Google study, for instance, found that nearly half of all video ads on the web may not be viewable for a long enough time, or with enough of the ad showing, for actual humans to take notice.
Google’s Active View initiative charges advertisers only for ads that meet the industry’s minimum viewability standards.
Now, Active View will offer in its Bid Manager “average viewable time.” DoubleClick defines this as “the average time, in seconds, a given ad appeared on the screen.” But it doesn’t tell how much of the ad, beyond the viewable minimum, was seen.
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