33Across launches ‘first open exchange with only viewable inventory’


Graphic from 33Across

Graphic from 33Across

Only in an industry like digital advertising would the ability to show most of the ad for at least one second be considered a feature.

Ad platform 33Across has decided that viewability should instead be a standard, so it has launched AttentionX, which it describes as the first open ad exchange containing only viewable ad inventory.

“Human [viewers] and viewable [inventory] must be the foundation for programmatic buying,” CEO Eric Wheeler said in a statement.

Viewable versus non-viewable. The inventory on most open exchanges, according to his company, can be 50 to 70 percent non-viewable. Higher levels of viewability can exist on a private marketplace, Wheeler told me, but that requires custom arrangements and viewability guarantees.

In 2015, 33Across announced a 100 percent viewability guarantee, where non-viewable ads would be refunded to the advertiser. But Wheeler pointed out that his company was then supplying other exchanges with its inventory and its guarantee, before launching its own exchange about a year ago.

Now, that exchange has morphed into AttentionX, where every piece of inventory has been pre-scored for viewability before it enters for bidding, making a 100 percent guarantee no longer needed.

“DSPs plug in and it’s all viewable,” he told me, “so a guarantee is superfluous.”

Besides, Wheeler said, a viewability guarantee is a hassle, requiring advertisers and exchanges to settle up later.

The viewability standard. The viewability is scored pre-exchange via JavaScript on the page of the participating publisher that allows 33Across to see the viewport window, a description of what is visible to the user. 33Across says its network includes over 1,500 global publishers.

Other exchanges, Wheeler said, filter inventory after it’s come in and then score the viewability while the ad is being delivered, using historical data. No one else has “scanned the impression quality for viewability before it gets to the exchange,” he said.

33Across uses the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) viewability standard: at least 50 percent of the ad in view for at least one second. AttentionX’s ads are static imagery, animation or rich media.

In addition to meeting that minimum standard, AttentionX also offers time-in-view ads, which are at least 50 percent visible but in increments up to 25 seconds. This works better than some attempts at cost-per-second pricing, the company says, because advertisers can still use their accustomed CPM pricing.

Why you should care. It’s difficult to imagine that digital advertising can gain the full credibility it needs when large swaths of inventory are still sold even though ads delivered to them may not be — you know — seen. It’s like airlines selling you tickets to flights that may or may not ever take off, but we’ll settle up later.

33Across’s approach of pre-scoring inventory requires its JavaScript on page to predetermine the viewport, but that may be the price of restoring credibility. Its new viewable-only exchange may represent the next step beyond guarantees and could raise the bar beyond the “half an ad for one second” minimal IAB standard.

This approach builds on the movement in the last several years to address the viewability dilemma, including Google’s Active View standard for delivered ads, GroupM’s raising the bar to 100 percent of the ad or the recent inclusion of time-in-view metrics in an Integral Ad Science report. 33Across’ new pre-exchange scoring of ad space may offer a new metric for this evolution.

This story first appeared on MarTech Today. For more on marketing technology, click here.


About The Author

Barry Levine covers marketing technology for Third Door Media. Previously, he covered this space as a Senior Writer for VentureBeat, and he has written about these and other tech subjects for such publications as CMSWire and NewsFactor. He founded and led the web site/unit at PBS station Thirteen/WNET; worked as an online Senior Producer/writer for Viacom; created a successful interactive game, PLAY IT BY EAR: The First CD Game; founded and led an independent film showcase, CENTER SCREEN, based at Harvard and M.I.T.; and served over five years as a consultant to the M.I.T. Media Lab. You can find him at LinkedIn, and on Twitter at xBarryLevine.



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