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Audience Based Buying: Viewable or Verified?

Ever been catfished? We’re sorry to hear that— but one person is better than a whole crowd, right?

Ever been catfished? We’re sorry to hear that— but one person is better than a whole crowd, right?

When it comes to display advertising it’s no secret that viewability serves as a main metric to validate whether or not your ad was seen by a human.

Yet, as the years have progressed, the talk about digital media being the most measurable medium on the market (how do you like that alliteration) has steepened. According to AdMonsters, perpetually “wanting more accountability” is just the natural progression of the way we do business.

So viewability aside, how else can you get your hands dirty and optimize the future of your campaigns? Simple: third-party validation of your campaign reach as well as the dataset lying behind the targeting.

Wait, does this mean we’re shifting out from the shadows of “viewability” and making strides towards the art of being “verified”? You guessed it. One ever so-sparkly topic on the minds of many businesses has been that of “audience verification.”

The glorious Glossary of Digital Marketing defines audience verification as:

“services that measure audience composition accuracy by verifying audience profiles against a cookie database owned by a third-party data provider.”

Due to the abundance of resources prompted by third-party data validation, audience verification picks up where viewability leaves off—but where does viewability leave off exactly?

According to MarTech Today, viewability is tracked through tags that provide specific information about whether an ad was visible or not— down to the number of pixels and where they were on a web page — as well as how long the ad was viewed for. However, audience verification absorbs all of this information and takes a leap forward by providing validation on whether your campaign was physically viewed by your beloved mid-40s, Whole Food’s loving, OC soccer mom (or, you know, your target consumer).

Validating an audience is especially pertinent to B2B operations due to an influx in demand for Account-Based Marketing (ABM). For example, if your campaign objective is to get people to buy your mix tape and your ads are being served to ramen chefs in Japan outside of your target demographic, it’s an overlay that viewability just won’t be able to track.

As for agencies, neutral third-party analysis will be of great benefit due to the support they’ll provide to gage more informed media-buying decisions.

For example, ComScore currently integrates audience verification in its “Validated Campaign Essentials” (vCE) software, which serves as a holistic ad delivery validation solution.

Comparativley, in utilizing a single and integrated tag, vCE works by providing advertisers with comprehensive campaign and audience validation metrics. These validation metrics integrate insights such as in-target demographic delivery, validated GRPs, viewability, invalid traffic and brand safety for both mobile and desktop campaigns alike.

Another way to verify your audience is by leveraging consumer insight reports that match the profiles of those visiting your website and attach them to 3rd party audience data segments. With this data you can then cross-examine your site visitors with your target and divvy them up into micro audience segments to further employ target refinements and work to drive incremental campaign performance.

This in mind, make sure to put forth brand safety and fraud protection to ensure that your media budgets are reaching real people and not those pesky bots hiding behind every keyboard.

Furthermore, nearly every industry (in this crazy data-driven world) works with 3rd party data partners, so understanding the percentage of failed audience targets is important to your agency’s knowledge.

Essentially, the end goal of audience verification is to validate that the consumers you’re serving your ads to are, well, real people within your target demographic. Shouldn’t be too much to ask right? Eh, depends on how much work you like to make for yourself.

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