• First phase on display advertising on Southeast Asia shows alignment with US viewability rates
  • Second phase will focus on video inventory, slated to kick off in Q3, 2017

Singapore, 11 July 2017 – The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Singapore has released the findings of its study into viewability rates, offering a first look at display advertising in Southeast Asia.

The exercise found that the average viewability rate in Southeast Asia is 53% and the three measurement partners – comScore, Integral Ad Science (IAS), MOAT – deviated by less than 4% in their findings. More than 424 million impressions across six markets in Southeast Asia were measured across all participating measurement providers on campaigns, spanning between mid-August to mid-October of 2016.

Viewability, or the opportunity for an ad to be seen, is currently defined by the Media Rating Council (MRC) as follows: “Desktop/Mobile Display: 50% of ad pixels must stay in the viewport for 1 continuous second.”

The conclusion drawn from the first phase is that Southeast Asia, from a regional perspective, does indeed come close to the US-defined standards for desktop display advertising.

There was previously no industry consensus or independent verification for how markets in Southeast Asia fared when it comes to Viewability standards and definitions set by the MRC and other industry bodies.

“There is a need to test inventory in order to improve transparency, to ensure that ads are being viewed and acted upon by real people within an increasingly automated industry,” said Miranda Dimopoulos, CEO and Ambassador to SEA, IAB Singapore. “The long-term aim of this study is to establish a norm and to encourage viewability adoption amongst IAB Singapore members.”

To help fill this gap, IAB Singapore established the Viewability Working Group in May 2016, bringing together major players from platforms, publishers, agencies and brands to piece together a realistic perspective of where the region sits compared to mature markets and other regions.

This is the first time an initiative of this nature in Southeast Asia has been attempted by the industry. In addition, with three independent testing providers working together on this project – an industry first – the Working Group is confident that significant gains are in store.

Ken Tan, Vice President of Southeast Asia for comScore said as an industry stakeholder the measurement provider believes that an IAB Singapore-led study such as this will provide the transparency and trust needed to take digital advertising efforts in the region to the next stage of maturity.

“Viewability must be table stakes and understanding where Southeast Asia stands, across all media formats, is the first vital step,” he added.

This phase of the study, which was limited to display on desktop, offers a starting point and lessons for the testing of more dominant and growing formats for the region, namely video and mobile. This will in turn, highlight which markets in particular have measurement gaps, laying the foundation for next steps in building up the digital ecosystem.

Niall Hogan, Managing Director, Southeast Asia for IAS noted that viewability has become a staple element in discussions with clients.

“For the potential of digital to be fully realised, trust and transparency in the supply chain must exist,” he said. “As an active stakeholder in the digital industry, IAS is pleased to be a part of this study, offering resources and expertise to enable clear and neutral insight for the region.”

Jonah Goodhart, Senior Vice President, Oracle Data Cloud and Co-Founder of Moat, believes that consensus and clarity into the state of viewability in an emerging and diverse region such as Southeast Asia is central to the growth of digital.

“Consumers in Southeast Asia are spending more and more time online. Those in Singapore, for instance, spent 401 minutes a day on the internet in 2016, according to ZenithOptimedia — that’s staggering, especially compared to the worldwide average of about 120 minutes,” he said. “With such high activity levels, transparency into advertising is a must for online marketers. Moat is proud to be a part of this regional study, and we remain committed to ensuring the successful execution of the next three phases planned.”

The second phase of the study, which will focus on video, is slated to launch in Q3, 2017, with testing parameters and methodology currently being further fine-tuned.

Phil Townend, Chief Commercial Officer, Asia Pacific, Unruly and IAB Singapore Board Member said many lessons were learnt in the execution of the first phase, an industry-first involving three independent measurement providers and stakeholders from across the digital industry. Townend will be the project lead for the second phase of the study, which will look at video inventory.

“The next phase will be an important one as video continues its growth to become the dominant medium in the region,” he added. “We’re confident that this phase of the study will yield some definitive insights into video viewability in Southeast Asia.”

The full viewability report can be found here.