Here's a well-known philosophical thought experiment: if a tree falls in a forest, and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? Can something exist if it isn't perceived?
I'd go with yeah probably, but then I'm no metaphysician. I hope my kids still exist even though I can't currently hear them screaming.
A partial glimpse
The industry is abuzz with talk about the viewability of online video advertising - or at least it is if you are there to hear it, obviously.
This is a thorny issue. What counts? Well, the IAB's standard is that 50% of pixels must be in the viewable portion of an internet browser for two seconds to count as an impression.
Having a partial glimpse as a standard is a fairly low benchmark and has, unsurprisingly, been questioned.
And that is before you factor in the issues with viewing rates - eye-tracking research by Lumen found that only 9% of online ads are looked at for more than a second - and bots etc. (If you want a forthright, bit sweary, but hard-to-argue with view of this, you could do a lot worse than read the Ad Contrarian's recent blog on the topic).
When a question about online ad viewability came up at a recent conference at which I was lanyarded, an online video rep defended it in an odd way. He attacked linear TV, saying that people don't always pay attention to TV advertising. He mentioned making cups of tea and multi-screening as serious issues for TV advertising viewability.
Viewability is not the same as attention
The hierarchy of ad exposure
This article first appeared in Mediatel