Adweek published a story titled, “Agency and Brand Leaders Weigh in on Digital’s Mounting Ad Viewability Issues,” while Advertising Age ran “4As Letter Calls for More Stringent Viewability Standards” and “Ask the Right Question About Viewability.” The only thing less viewable than the digital ads is the interactive ignorance clearly visible in all the opinions from advertising and media executives.
Demanding 100% viewability—or even making it the ideal goal—only underscores the digital dumbness of advertisers and adpeople alike. The World Wide Web was not intended to accommodate advertising, especially in the way that the overwhelming majority of advertisers and advertising agencies produce it. Hell, 99 percent of digital advertising doesn’t deserve to be viewed. Attempting to create industry standards for viewability is a futile effort—mostly because there are no universal industry standards for digital advertising.
As previously mentioned, John Wanamaker is credited with having said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” With the Internet, the iconic phrase needs a total rewrite and recalculation—maybe something along the lines of, “Most of the money I spend on digital advertising is wasted; the trouble is the majority of the waste can be traced to the advertising agencies I employ as well as myself, while the rest of the waste involves expending time, energy and resources on uncontrollable issues like viewability.”