5 things you should know about viewability

1) Biggest misconceptions about viewability

  • Above the fold always viewable – average viewability rate is 68% above the fold and 40%  below the fold. Page position isn’t the main indicator of viewability – not all above-the-fold impressions are viewable, while many below-the-fold impressions are
  • The most viewable position is right above the fold, not at the top of the page
  • The most viewable ad formats are vertical units (e.g. 160×600, 120×600, 300×600)

Viewability rates by ad size

2) Major brands started to demand transparent advertising

  • Susan Bidle – senior analyst at Forrester Research says that viewability will be a standard measurement tool for branding focused display advertising – and so does the digital advertising market
  • Google ensured advertisers that they will only pay for 100% viewable ads (vCPM)
  • Cadreon: “Like other performance metrics, viewability should be a function of cost (the vCPM). Paying a lower media CPM for a lower viewability percentage in programmatic may be more economical than paying a higher CPM for a higher viewability percentage.”

3) How is viewability measured?

  • Viewability rate: percentage of actually served ad impressions out of the total amount of impressions in the analysed unit
  • Geometric measurement is the base of it. Locating the corners of the ad, compare the ad size with the viewable portion of the webpage and do the math from there. Standard display ads, like banners are easily measurable this way. Dynamic display ads like sidebars are more difficult to measure as the size will vary if the user resizes the browser window
  • Visibility measurement – we analyse the iframe dimension and the ad units dimension to be shown. This way we can highlight cases where the ad unit doesn’t even have the proper technical environment to reach the visitor (far-out example: a 0x0 pixel iframe is displayed instead of the requested 300×250 adfram. This is sometimes a case of human error, not illicit activity)
  • As noted in a an article by The Wall Street Journal, various ad networks have varying definitions of viewable impressions

4) Almost half of your ads are never gonna be seen!

  • We have good news, it’s typically not the market position or strategy, it’s not your creative and it’s not your media plan that causes failure. The major reason that campaigns fail to deliver is the part that’s the least visible
  • “With the advancement of new technologies we now know that many display ads that are served never actually have the opportunity to be seen by a user,” said Google group product manager Sanaz Ahari in a blog post. Those ads appear outside the viewable area of a browser window. Once you factor in bots, even fewer ads are seen by the people advertisers are paying to reach

5) Optimizing to viewability alone invites fraud

  • Fraudulent impressions are highly viewable. The viewable ad is becoming the new click since it’s in high demand and very easy for a bot to fake. An infected computer runs a hidden browser, which then visits fraudulent domains and interacts with ads. The browser is designed to render all ads and scroll through the page, so that all ads are eventually in the viewport of the browser window and measured as viewable.
  • Some countermeasures can be taken similar to click fraud: “too viewable” ads might raise suspicion
  • So, when optimizing to viewability make sure that ad fraud is being closely monitored and blocked

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