Brightcove and IAS Partner to Tackle Viewability Measurement


It’s 2017 — brands already know they need to have a cross-screen strategy in place to deliver effective advertising campaigns. In fact, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB)'s latest Video Ad Spend study revealed that 72% of marketing and media buying professionals intend to reallocate their budget away from TV and increase spend on digital video advertising.

But for digital ads to make an impact, they need to have high ad viewability, a metric that defines whether or not an ad is “in view” or visible during playback. And, according to global technology and data company, Integral Ad Science (IAS), an alarming number of ads are going unseen — in fact, 46% of display ads and 60% of video ads were out of view in 2016 alone.

The problem is, all digital ads have different viewability metrics, and viewability measurement has become hard to scale and even harder to implement.

That’s why Brightcove has partnered with IAS to standardise viewability measurement and ensure transparency for video publishers and broadcasters using Brightcove so they can encourage digital ad spend by brands, and easily measure campaign success.

How long is a piece of string?

The latest Nielsen Digital Ad Ratings Benchmarks Report identified the number of impressions delivered to the target audience as a key indicator of determining the success of a digital ad campaign.  But “delivery” alone of an ad to a target segment is not necessarily sufficient to drive the desired outcome for an advertiser - that’s where viewability comes in.  IAS’s Dave Marquard shared some data to this effect at the Brightcove PLAY conference in Boston in May, showing how the amount of an ad that is in view and the amount of time the ad is in view directly impact the efficacy of the ad.


The Media Rating Council (MRC) defines an in-stream video ad as viewable if more than 50% of the ad’s pixels are in view for at least two consecutive seconds. This is the dominant definition, but advertisers and agencies are calling for stricter definitions of viewability in the digital sphere to gain much-needed clarity. Given recent news about some platforms failing to deliver clear, accurate metrics on ad success, these calls are not surprising.

The proliferation of digital and mobile devices has made it even harder to track viewability, with audiences consuming ad content at an unprecedented rate across a number of different platforms and formats. This poses a distinct challenge for digital advertisers when justifying digital ad spend — how do you demonstrate your content is driving high rates of engagement within target audiences when there is no accountability or industry-wide standardised unit of measurement?

Digital ad fraud from bots, criminal syndicates, fraudulent URLs, ad blockers, and specific page-level fraud also pose a significant set of challenges for those working in the digital media space.

To simplify the complexity of viewability measurement, IAS has developed a plugin for the Brightcove Player. Implemented alongside several of Brightcove’s ad integrations, including Google’s IMA and FreeWheel, IAS’ plugin captures and reports on a host of metrics, including viewability, progress and ad interactions, during ad playback. The plugin works so that when an ad loads in a player, it fetches IAS’ standards measurement software development kit (SDK) and libraries, so it can track viewability, progress and any ad interactions. Running within the player itself also means it can measure viewability regardless of the ad creative served and where it was delivered from.

“Our partnership with Brightcove is important to our customers, providing them with accurate insights to make more informed decisions. For example, some of the world's largest online news publishers and media networks are already using the plugin and are reporting huge benefits. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and we hope other brands can leverage the feature to improve the way they measure and report on viewability,” said David Hahn, Chief Product Officer, Integral Ad Science.

The availability of the IAS plugin marks an important point in Brightcove’s continued effort to work  with industry leaders, like IAS, to help alleviate complexity for publishers.  This collaboration gives publishers access to data that will help them with understanding more about how campaigns are being viewed on their properties, better equipping them for conversations with their advertisers. Publishers looking to access the plugin should contact their IAS rep or email for more information, including corresponding documentation.