Facebook Trying To Assure Advertisers That Their Ads Are Actually (Maybe, Possibly) Being Seen

Facebook will now offer an option for advertisers where they only pay for an ad impression of 100% of an advertisement shows up in a user's newsfeed.

Facebook will now offer an option for advertisers where they only pay for an ad impression of 100% of an advertisement shows up in a user’s newsfeed.

Will you do something for us? Take a quick, 10-second look at just about any site that isn’t Consumerist and then come back here. Done? Now see if you can remember all — or any — of the ads on that page. You probably can’t because (A) we’ve trained ourselves to ignore ad units and (B) you probably skimmed past or didn’t even get to a lot of the ads on that page. Advertisers know this, which is why Facebook is offering an option that only charges them when someone sees 100% of their ad.

The way it works, according to an announcement from Facebook, is that advertisers who choose the “100% In-View” option will only pay for an ad impression if all of the ad shows up in the reader’s Facebook newsfeed.

So if I’m scrolling through my newsfeed on my phone and only half of an ad unit shows up before I bail on the app and go check on my fantasy curling team, the advertiser won’t be paying for an ad I didn’t really see.

“While it remains our belief that value is created for an advertiser as soon as an ad is in view, we also believe in offering advertisers control and flexibility over how they run their ads,” explains the company.

The catch, notes AdAge, is that there is no time requirement before an ad counts as 100% displayed. So if a user is racing through their newsfeed too quickly to actually notice the content of the ad, it doesn’t matter; 100% of the ad has been displayed, so it counts as an impression.

Given that more than half of online ads are never even seen by visitors to websites — a number that’s likely to grow with Apple’s decision to allow ad-blockers on its iPhone and iPad Safari browser — any sort of assurance that their ad was seen in its entirety, however briefly, is enough for some of the world’s biggest advertisers.

Unilever — the company responsible for everything from Ben & Jerry’s and Country Crock to Q-tips and Vaseline — has been critical of paying for partially viewed or unseen ads, but came out in support of today’s Facebook news.

“Our hope is that these steps will lead ultimately to 100% viewability through third party verification across the industry,” says the company’s chief marketing officer in a statement.

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