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Not all ad impressions are created equal. Increasingly, advertisers are asking to target viewable impressions rather than available impressions. The reason is simple: if an ad is viewed, it has a greater chance to engage a consumer and drive value for an advertiser.  In this blog, I’m going to review the history of the viewable impression and explain the true value of what viewable impressions mean for advertisers.

The Difference Between Available and Viewable
An impression is considered available when an ad-serving system receives a request from a publisher partner that signals they have an ad space, regardless of where it is on a page. A viewable impression adds an extra layer of scrutiny of the impression to ensure that the ad is viewable by the consumer within the browser. 

The industry focus on viewable impressions was kicked off in 2014 with the Media Rating Council (MRC) releasing a standard for measuring viewable impressions on desktop: and in June 2016, guidelines were issued for measuring viewable impressions in mobile web and “in-app” environments. The mobile guidelines marked an important acknowledgement of the massive shift of consumer media time from wired devices to mobile devices – and the commensurate shift of advertising dollars to mobile platforms.

Importance to Advertisers
Viewable impressions can be an effective component of an advertisers’ digital media strategy. Additionally, viewable impressions with their extra level of scrutiny add increased security against potential fraud. These two benefits –  better performance and increased security - may help advertisers optimize ROI on media spend.  So why wouldn’t you just default to viewable impressions? The answer is simple: they usually cost more. Advertisers with aggressive performance goals should do a cost-benefit analysis to ensure that the expected lift in performance can justify the additional cost. For example, you might see a 20% lift, but if your CPM doubles, the numbers might not work out for you.

Acquiring Viewable Impressions
Many advertisers have approached viewable impressions from a post-delivery perspective - evaluating an impression after it has been delivered and then determining whether it was in- or out-of- view.  RhythmOne has taken viewable one step further by setting up private marketplace packages to provide access to different pools of viewable inventory.   These packages are centered around our mobile in-app inventory (powered by our proprietary SDK), and our mobile web and desktop inventory that has been pre-verified by our 3rd party partners (including IAS and Moat) combined with our RhythmGuard technology to be viewable.  These packages of inventory can be programmatically accessed either through major DSP platforms – or as a managed service through our account management team. 

These packages provide an advertiser with an easy way to access viewable inventory and help make sure their ads are seen and seen by real people at scale.