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Learn The Programmatic Lingo: Viewability Or View-Inability

Making sense of programmatic language can be tough. Especially when we’re faced with jargon, multiple words meaning the same thing, or varying definitions for a single word.

Sick of nodding your head in meetings then running to check what the latest acronym stands for? It happens all too often. That’s why we’re launching a new series “Learn the Lingo” to help programmatic buyers navigate the ever-changing digital ecosystem.

In our inaugural post, we’re going to break down everyone’s favorite term, viewability. Or, shall we say viewinability. What’s that you ask?





The common occurrence when programmatic buyers or sellers do not understand how their viewability standards compare to others in the industry.

“When he didn’t know the difference between MRC viewability rates and his own, it was clear that he was suffering from viewinability.”

Synonyms: confused, misinformed


It’s fair enough, really. There is no finger pointing from this end. Viewability has been talked about ad nauseum over the last few years, yet there is still so much confusion. The overuse of the word may even be the reason people don’t understand it clearly. Just because it’s been talked about so much, it doesn’t mean we have an industry consensus on what it means – and that’s the problem.

We’ve heard stories of demos being given where account managers weren’t able to clarify what 80% viewability in their DSP campaign set-up meant. Was it based on MRC standards? GroupM? Perhaps they have their own definition of viewability they are bringing out to market?

When you consider:

  • MRC viewability standards is 50% of a video is in-view for at least two seconds;
  • GroupM asks that the video has to be 100% in view for at least half of the duration, with the sound on (or subtitles), and the viewer has to opt in

And this is just for video. It’s clear that “viewability” cannot be thrown around as if it has a universal definition. There is so much discrepancy between various definitions of viewability, it’s no wonder we’re seeing viewinability on the rise.

The point is not to confuse, or to discredit anyone’s corporate definition of the term, but to remind buyers that when viewability is mentioned, it might be referencing something outside of your current definition.

In order to ensure you’re hitting your benchmarks, be sure to ask questions, lots of questions. The industry is moving quickly and there is no need for you to fall behind simply because of lingo.