Yes, Digital Advertising’s Viewability Problem Does Impact Store Visits

"When a viewable impression improves store visits rates by over 50 percent, it no longer becomes a nice to have, but a must have for any marketer with an offline presence," says Placed CEO David Shim.

The discussions over the issues associated with online ad viewability hasn’t typically involved location-based advertising, but a study from attribution specialist Placed and digital analytics provider Moat attempts to draw a clear line between determining if an ad was ever seen by its intended audience and store visitation.

In the larger ad tech sense beyond location marketing, viewability has been a considerable cause of mistrust between buyers (brand and agencies) and publishers.

Viewability refers to whether a display ad placement was seen by an actual person or if it fraudulent ad impressions were generated by the “visits” of bots. It can also pertain to the question of whether an ad was seen by a person for a certain length of time, or if the ad’s position on a page was obscured.

Overall, the difficulty in telling the difference between actual clicks and fraudulent ones has contributed to the lack of confidence advertisers have in online ad spending.

Placed, which is owned by Snap Inc., has taken on the viewability issue before. Meanwhile, Oracle’s Moat has spent more than a decade on viewability, offering heatmaps to show where viewers are moving their computer’s cursor on a page. In the last few years, Moat has struck deals involving location analytics with Verve and Pandora.

It makes sense that location analytics could help solve the problem in part; after all, offline, geo-data derived attribution can tell the value of a clickthrough that led to a store visit and one that led to no real-world action taken.

The study, which was conducted on behalf of Integer, Omnicom e-commerce consultancy, found:

▪ Store Conversion Rate for Viewable Impressions: 20.4 percent

▪ Change in Visit Rates for Viewable Impressions Compared to Non-Viewable Impressions: 52.9 percent


“The importance of viewability goes beyond digital, as an ad viewed is more likely to drive a visit and conversion as validated by this analysis,” said David Shim, Founder and CEO at Placed. “In working with Moat and Placed, Integer is helping its clients and the industry measure the impact of viewability on real world visits to retailers, bars, and restaurants.”

To connect viewable impressions and store foot traffic, Moat affixed a Placed pixel to a campaign (no details were provided about the brand or category).

Placed then compared the conversion rates for users served a viewable ad, users served a non-viewable ad, and control groups of users that weren’t exposed to the campaign, with the goal of determining whether users served a viewable ad exhibited higher visitation rates to on-premise (store visits) locations.

GeoMarketing: How do you — and how should retailers, brands, and agencies — regard that 52.9 change in visit rate for viewable impressions? What about the store conversion rate of 20.4 percent?

David Shim: The impact of viewability doesn’t stop with a click or an online conversion, it impacts the entire consumer journey including store visits as measured by the results from the study. When a viewable impression improves store visits rates by over 50 percent, it no longer becomes a nice to have, but a must have for any marketer with an offline presence.

What do these figures say about the problem of viewability and the value of online-to-offline attribution?

In a matter of a few years, viewability has become table stakes for digital advertising. The results of this study highlights that the value of a viewable impression goes beyond brand metrics and extends into offline actions, including driving consumers into brick and mortar locations.

How long has Placed worked with Moat on addressing viewability issues alongside offline attribution? Is there a formal partnership involved between the two of you, or are you solely working on studying the issue at this point?

The results from this study, a first in connecting viewability to store visits, were based on directly measuring impressions by Moat, directly measured store visits by Placed, on behalf of the agency, Integer. As advertisers start to understand the ROI of connecting the dots from viewability to store visits, we expect demand to accelerate in-market.


About The Author
David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

A New York City-based journalist for over 20 years, David Kaplan is managing editor of A former editor and reporter at AdExchanger, paidContent, Adweek and MediaPost.