The Right Way to Measure Display Ad Viewability
Only Two Approaches
There are only two approaches to measuring the viewability of online display ads: the geometric approach and the spider.io approach. Only the spider.io approach is comprehensive and only the spider.io approach is accurate down the long tail of exchange inventory.
The two approaches are covered in detail in the following video interview.
The Geometric Approach
The geometric approach to measuring whether an ad impression can be seen by some user involves measuring the position of the ad impression relative to the browser viewport.
The geometric approach is able to provide viewability measurements across 30–60% of display ad impressions. Most display ad impressions are served in unfriendly or cross-domain iframes (to protect both the publisher and the advertiser), and when ads are served in this way there is no variant of the geometric approach that works across Chrome or Safari or, indeed, across any other WebKit-based browser. Whilst there is a version of the geometric approach that works across Internet Explorer from within unfriendly iframes, this version of the geometric approach involves exploiting a notable security hole: bit.ly/TONRbZ.
The geometric approach to measuring ad viewability is currently the focus of patent litigation in the United States: bit.ly/QfYftF.
The spider.io Approach
spider.io has developed a uniquely comprehensive approach to measuring ad viewability, for which the company has an international pending patent: Advertisements in View – PCT/EP2012/057328.
The spider.io approach to measuring whether a display ad impression can by seen by some user involves measuring whether the browser is or is not painting the contents of the ad impression to the user’s display. The spider.io approach does not use the geometric position of an ad as a proxy measure for whether the ad impression can be seen by some user. Browsers behave differently depending on what content is being painted to a user’s display and the spider.io approach involves measuring these behavioural differences. The spider.io approach is uniquely able to measure whether an ad impression can be seen by a user across all major desktop browsers—without exploiting unpatched vulnerabilities or violating user privacy.
Accredited to Serve as the Bill of Record
On 29 May, 2013, spider.io became the first and only MRC-accredited company that can measure the viewability of individual display ad impressions across all major desktop browsers in any iframe environment: http://bit.ly/1aDk3a0.