comScore is planning on fixing the online ad industry with its new $22 million acquisition of ADXpose, which verifies advertising data for publishers.
How does ADXpose verify ad data? It measures where the ad is on a webpage and makes sure people are actually seeing it.
One of the major problems with the digital advertising industry is that it is currently measured by gross impressions. There is little, if any, accounting for quality of the ads that are served. Or, as ADXpose CEO Kirby Winfield told us when we met with him and comScore CEO Magid Abraham Thursday morning, if those impressions are even viewable.
Winfield’s company found that in many cases, impressions are credited but a website visitor cannot see them. For example, if a banner ad at the top of a page loads slowly, the viewer is often gone by the time the image appears. Or ads are way down the page and there’s no compelling content to bring a user there. Or ads are served through third-party networks against objectionable content. There are plenty of reasons why an impression wouldn’t be seen, which affects the success of a campaign.
“If you’re counting every impression as viewable when only 50% are viewable, then every metric that you’re using to value your media is inefficient and inaccurate,” Winfield said. “You’re pulling in a bunch of impressions that have no chance to be viewed.”
comScore and ADExpose will solve this problem by providing publishers, advertisers, and anyone else who wants it accurate, measurable data about both the quantity of ads served and the quality of those impressions.
“We want to be quantifying people, not cookies,” Abraham said. “To describe the audience and the demographics, and quantify the fraud. We’ll filter out stuff that is not viewable and not served in the environment that the advertiser has specified.”
As it stands now, people have difficulty getting the information.
“You have to go to one vendor to get viewabililty data. Another for survey data. A vendor to get audience verification. Another to get conversation data,” Winfield said. “You’re taking a buying process that is already 4-5x more difficult than buying TV and making it 4-5x more difficult to get metrics.”
The move will, hopefully, help companies charge more per CPM because there will be more accurate information available.
“Prices are going to adjust. All of the junk inventory is going to be significantly slashed,” Abraham said. “If you’re charging $.25/CPM but only 20% are visible, then the unit price is actually $1.25. We will move from a medium from where there is no scarcity to an industry where there is scarcity.”
The game is about to change.
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