Unilever’s Keith Weed: ‘Digital ads must be 100% viewable’

Anything less than 100% viewability of digital ads is not good enough, says Unilever’s chief marketing and communications officer Keith Weed.

Talking at the Financial Times Marketing Innovators Summit this morning (2 June) he said all too often brands are paying for ads that are being served rather than being seen, which is creating a “massive challenge” for marketers.

“As an industry it’s really something we’ve got to get our minds around. What does viewed mean? How much of an ad do [consumers] have to see before you pay for it? What percentage should we be paying for? I’m very clear, it should be 100%,” he stated.

Some commentators in the industry have suggested that 70% or 90% is adequate but Weed disagreed.

“Can you imagine your mum or dad going into store and buying 50 PG Tips only to get home and find there are only 45 inside because as an industry we’e agreed on 90% delivery?”

Keith Weed, Unilever CMO

“Can you imagine your mum or dad going into a store and buying 50 PG Tips only to get them home and find there are only 45 inside [because] as an industry we have agreed on 90% delivery? It’s absurd. It has to be 100% and we’ve got to find a way of [achieving that].”

A study by Nielsen has found that around 40% of digital ads are not seen by the intended audience, although Google suggests that last year it was nearer 56%, according to Weed, who also highlights that 29% of website traffic is generated by “bad bots” posing as human eyes.

“Viewability and measurement is a massive challenge for us as an industry [because] once the faith and belief in digital advertising is broken it’s going to take an awful lot to get it back,” he added.

Integration and technology

Integration and technology are the other big issues facing marketers today, according to Weed, who suggested that the level of collaboration now needed between brands and their agencies is significant. While it was once the creative agency’s role to connect TV with posters and print, it is now the marketer’s job to orchestrate an increasing number of specialists with one common goal, he said.

“It’s a huge challenge and it is leading to tremendous fragmentation of our brands because each of these specialists wants to have the perfect solution,” he said. “So we’ve got to get back to thinking about what we can do for the brand rather than asking what can the brand do for us.”

And while technology has been a huge simplifier for people he believes it has added a lot of complexity for the industry.

“As marketers we all know we should focus on the consumer and that putting people first is the way to build great brands and businesses, but how often do you now find yourself caught in technology questions?” he asked.

While he said he is by no means bashing technology he advised marketers to remember that it is essentially just the pipe that takes ideas and concepts to consumers so they have got to find the right balance.



There are 3 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Robin S 3 Jun 2015

    We’re working on it.

  2. Robin S 3 Jun 2015

    As an advanced technology representative, I have to slow your roll when you say that technology is “just a pipe”. The smarter the technology, the more it can do. With smarter technology you can execute more creative ways of marketing. The tech today is still pretty dumb.

  3. More like 24-25 bags of P G Tips, Keith….

    But the only way the market will listen to you and your peers is if you vote with your wallets. Which you are nowhere doing – yet!?!

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