IAB Points to Vendor Reporting as Key Issue in Viewability Debate

Incoming Chairman Calls for Agencies to Limit Vendor Partners

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The new chairman of the Interactive Advertising Bureau began his tenure yesterday with a stark look at the challenges confronting publishers and ad-tech companies being pressured to transact on viewable impressions.

"We are living through this transition in real time and it's confusing and time consuming for all involved," said the new chairman, David Morris, at the IAB's Annual Leadership Meeting in Phoenix.

Mr. Morris, also the chief revenue officer of CBS Interactive, delivered his speech amid increasing pressure on publishers to charge only for those ads which have the chance to be seen. The IAB recently came out with a recommendation that advertisers seek 70% viewability during 2015, which it called a "year of transition."

The address showed the IAB is digging deeper on the issue.

"The good news associated with viewable impressions far outweighs the bad news," Mr. Morris said, telling the audience they should expect higher prices due to contracting inventory supply.

Vendor reporting was singled out as a key problem holding the industry back on viewable impressions. Mr. Morris said that publishers often find substantial differences between vendors on the same line items. "Publishers need to demand that verification companies do a better job of delivering consistent and accurate data," he said. "To our agency partners, I say reducing the number of vendors you use will help us scale these solutions more quickly."

Unlike the chairman's address at the same event last year, which focused on fraud, Mr. Morris took pains to draw a line between viewability and that issue. "The viewable impression is a new measurement standard that we are trying to get right and get accurate," he said. "The other, bot traffic, is illegal activity and those who knowingly use fraudulent traffic to take advertising dollars should pay a price."

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