Prasad Sangameshwaran
May 09, 2017

Programmatic will have to embrace transparency

An interview with Moat's Jonah Goodhart on the challenges for measurement of the digital media

Programmatic will have to embrace transparency
Jonah Goodhart is one of the foremost names in media measurement. As the CEO and co-founder Moat, a company develops technologies and products for brand advertisers and premium publishers, Goodhart has found himself interacting with all sides of  the digital ecosystem -- clients, publishers and agencies.
In an interview with Campaign India Goodhart speaks about the progress in digital media measurement 
Is an exposure of two seconds to a digital ad, that’s been proposed by some, good enough to define the ad as ‘viewable’?
The media rating council, the central group in the US, started the process of identifying when an ad could be said to be viewable. They came up with a definition, which they call a minimum threshold, which is not the be all and end all. It’s the floor.
What it means that if for every single impression if the ad is on the screen for at least two seconds then it counts as an impression. Their idea was to differentiate between an ad that was never there and what was on screen for a minimum threshold of time to create an impression. 
One of the challenges to digital measurement is that there is no approach that is universal.
YouTube measures it differently, Facebook adopts a different standard and Hotstar does it differently. 
So are the publishers defining the standards for measurement?
In the US it’s a combination of publishers and advertisers. The parameters differ from market to market. Group M has its own standards of what defines viewability. Right now in the market there are a lot of conversations of what is the right standard. The key is we had no standards. So going from no standards to having standards is good.
But having multiple standards may also be bad…
It’s still better than having no standards. From there on we can optimise for more on-screen time, audible time, and then you can choose ultimately what is important for you as a brand. We have to separate two different things. One is minimum standards and the other is what defines success. The minimum standards will be the same across the board. The metrics that matter might change by advertiser.
What are some areas that need further improvement?
Brand safety is a hot topic. That is understandable. There are a lot of marketers that are questioning, where is my ad showing up. Marketers are trying to reach as many people as possible. But they also want to do it in the right environment. Television was a much smaller universe of content and a much more curated world. Not anything gets on to television. Somebody else decides whether they are going to run that or not.
Programmatic is another part of the challenge. You cannot say that I want to run this ad on this site. You can only define your target audience. Marketers are pushing for transparency and that’s one of the shifts that we are seeing in where ads get placed. 
Does that mean a temporay setback for programmatic?
Not necessarily. But what it means is that you have to embrace transparency. So the world of ‘run my ad wherever you want to run it’ is not going to be sustainable. We are going to see brands increasingly push for business outcomes.   


Campaign India