Letter to Editor: GroupM questions Entropia's 100% Viewability


 Girish Menon I read your article about the launch of Entropia’s 100% guaranteed viewability offering last week. I think the article and the claim from Entropia is somewhat misleading to the market, and GroupM has a point of view, which we would like to share publicly:

“With reference to recent announcement by Entropia claiming to have a 100% viewable offering, we feel that such claims can be misleading and are a marketing gimmick, as they do not present the full picture of the digital advertising ecosystem. There are four key points to consider when discussing viewability for online campaigns.

1. 100% guaranteed viewable product is old news. GroupM launched its own 100% guaranteed viewable product, Xaxis Viewpoint across APAC way back in August 2015. Likewise in Malaysia, online news portal, Star Online also launched a 100% viewable product AIM in mid-2015. Other major online platforms similarly have viewability guaranteed inventory available for sale.

2. Viewability is an important consideration, representing quality inventory, but currently lacks scale. Today, about 60%-70% of available ad inventory is typically not measurable. And only measurable inventory can be certified as viewable. So, when one talks about a 100% viewable campaign, such campaigns on their own are unlikely to have the volume to meet the client’s reach and frequency KPIs. Therefore, advertisers will need to continue to buy low-cost non-measurable impressions, while blending in premium measurable viewability-audited impressions. This is exactly what happens in TV as well; rarely do advertisers buy only 100% reach or only 100% quality, but instead buy a mix of reach and affinity (quality)GRPs.

3. Advertisers have a major role to play in running successful viewability campaigns. Advertisers need to champion adoption of 3rd party verification tools like IAS, DoubleVerify and MOAT and permit tagging of their display and video assets to truly benefit from access to viewable inventory. More of our clients today are open to using neutral 3rd party tracking platforms such as IAS and MOAT to measure the quality of the ads being served on their campaign.

4. Most importantly, the definition of a viewable ad itself as set by the IAB is inadequate. The global standard is “half the ad pixels in view for minimum one second”. This is why across the world, GroupM is championing a new standard in viewability, with 100% of pixels in view for both display and video, with user-initiated audio on and 50% of the video completed. GroupM is engaging with publishers to establish these as the new standards of viewability and create a high quality marketplace adhering which delivers meaningful impressions for clients. This already been done in some advanced markets and these discussions are underway across Asia, including Malaysia.

In conclusion, there are many elements to improving transparency and effectiveness of online campaigns. Just having a 100% viewable offering will not have much impact, given today’s limited measurable/ viewable inventory and the inadequacy of current global benchmarks. It is up to the global networks to engineer scalable changes in standards and inventory quality.

Girish Menon
CEO, GroupM Malaysia 

Editor’s Update: Last month, Entropia announced their win of the entire Etika Holdings account, which they say is worth RM150 million based on Nielsen’s tracking, and includes high-profile brands like Wonda, Tropicana, Mountain Dew, Revive and Pepsi. Entropia has been on a roll since and picked up the Nippon Paint business recently. Last week they clinched global retail player Tesco.

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