Trouble Brews Over the Viewability of Digital Ads

Publishers wary of increased scrutiny by brands

The Media Rating Council (MRC) recently lifted its 18-month-old advisory against selling digital ads based on whether they are measurably viewed by consumers. It’s a move that will likely reshape the $50 billion ad marketplace and pit publishers against brands, while putting in motion a surge in the number of online promotions sold on viewability metrics—pricing that functions on how frequently ads are seen by viewers. The metrics, or “currency” in industry vernacular, are often dictated by MRC-approved vendors, which include comScore, Moat, Integral Ad Science and DoubleVerify.