Rethinking Viewability: More than "Above the Fold"

Above the fold, below the fold, in-view, high-impact, waste. Welcome to the jargon-riddled, hyperbolic world that is viewability in digital advertising. 

Since industry leaders Group M made public their intentions to only pay for “viewable” impressions, publishers, DSPs, agencies and brands have been scrambling to make sense of online advertising and the desire to be seen. At Chicory, we are faced with the same viewable mandates from our advertisers and approach this issue not with the location of our ads on the page, but with the quality of our targeting.

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Chicory’s inventory, which is in-line with recipe ingredients across our network of influencer food bloggers, is not above the fold. For most campaigns set up across DSPs and by agencies, our inventory would not be the subject of a bid simply because the ad space wouldn’t qualify as “high value” in the basic sense of page location. What these standard definitions don’t take into consideration, is the quality of that location and the content surrounding it. 

A highly viewable ad qualified as above the fold can be surrounded by three other above the fold ads and in the middle of a completely irrelevant compilation of photos and text.

This definition offers little value or differentiation on the page. Our approach goes beyond this basic approach of viewable ad placements and delivers our advertisers’ messaging in the best content to make an impactful connection with the consumer.

When tagged with MOAT and DoubleVerify, our inventory exhibits viewability scores well above 85% across our network of traditionally labeled “out-of-view” inventory. Not only does our network crush third party viewability metrics, but engagement rates are also more than 200% higher than with traditional display and native advertising. Through our exclusive network and targeting, we are able to accomplish two things:

  1. Eliminate wasteful impressions by triggering an ad call during a real viewable moment.
  2. Align targeting to truly engaged experiences.

The challenge we find when talking to agencies and trade desks is how to overcome traditional notions of what is viewable and what is valuable. When working with a third party to measure viewability, it allows us, as a closed inventory source, to quantify the impact our native inventory has when compared against traditional digital metrics.   

What we’ve proven at Chicory is twofold: the industry needs to reevaluate what is considered "viewable" inventory, and conversation should shift to the nature of the inventory source and its targeting potential. 

With an emphasis on targeting and maintaining a carefully curated advertising solution, we are able to debunk the notion that below the fold inventory is inherently less valuable, and instead draw attention to engagement with the right customer. Through this we are able to bring more value to our clients, and help our publishers redefine and quantify their inventory. 

As a startup, our goal is to disrupt these standards and bring new value to a crowded digital ecosystem. By emphasizing targeting and carefully curated inventory we have shifted the focus for our clients to what they are achieving with their digital advertising, and not simply where their ads are served.