Ex-MD of The Telegraph Group, Hugo Drayton was appointed as CEO of InSkin Media in 2009. Since then, the digital landscape and with it, the agency has evolved to better cater to the needs of publishers and advertisers. Following the launch of InSkin’s MENA office we caught up with Drayton to hear his thoughts on the digital measurement scene.
Viewability has quickly evolved into a key metric for digital advertising. Thanks to significant activity from vendors such as Moat & IAS, viewability measurement is now highly developed. There was never a problem measuring ‘standard’ ads; the issue was with rich media and special formats – the arena in which InSkin Media performs.
Viewability measurement on all devices is now accurate; the concern centers more on the low bar for ‘acceptability’ – just 50 percent of the ad for one second is NOT a demanding threshold for brand advertising. However, as a baseline, an opportunity for an ad to be seen, viewability is important; we must, however, remember that it is simply a measure of efficiency and does NOT indicate the effectiveness of a campaign in any way.
On ad blocking and ad blockers selling ads
Publishers have rightly responded to the very real threat of ad blockers by focusing on the type and volume of advertising to which their consumers are exposed. The optimistic outcome is that advertising will be better: fewer ads, which are more creative, more relevant and non-intrusive. This is the world to which InSkin subscribes.
There is an inherent conflict of interest in ad blockers selling ads, just as there is a conflict in Google deciding which ads are ‘suitable’ for a third party publisher’s audience. My hope is that ad blockers will reduce in importance, as publishers increasingly respect the audience’s time and attention, advertising becomes more relevant, informative and creative, and consumers accept (in the interests of plurality of voice) that advertising is a critical publishing element, especially if the consumer does not wish to pay for content.
On effectiveness and visual engagement
InSkin Media has recently published new, ground-breaking research – From Viewability to Visual Engagement – building on the baseline of viewability, but now focused on memory-building and brand metrics, to measure branding effectiveness, the role of creativity and formats, and the problems associated with ad clutter. For this project, InSkin partnered with Research Now, Moat and Sticky, using the latter’s eye-tracking technology to track and report real consumer attention. I would like to see visual engagement develop as a standard industry metric for online brand advertising.
On the challenges of digital measurement
All measurement is difficult at the start. Agencies and brands are resistant to change, and understandably require plentiful evidence to adopt new metrics. In markets where digital advertising has a significant i.e. more than 30 percent market share, and when increasing levels of brand money are invested in digital, the introduction of such clear, compelling metrics will be more straightforward. In the MENA region, where only ten percent of advertising spend is dedicated to digital channels, the industry is likely to focus its attention more on optimizing TV and newspaper performances, which may slow down the conversation about digital.
On working with agencies and publishers
At the outset, any new technology or measurement requires time and commitment, which are not always available from publishers or agencies. However, the early reaction to our research, presented at dmexco, Europe’s largest ad tech conference, and in Australia and the UK, has been extremely positive so, we are confident that this initiative will be welcomed by the industry. In terms of obstacles, there are none that seem likely to delay or impede this clear and progressive new metric.
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