Did you know that many of the ads served on the web don’t actually show up on the screen? Isn’t that kind of crazy to think about? But it makes sense when you remember about who reads the web — humans and computers. The robot sees what the person doesn’t, and that’s why served impressions have been important. Still, the industry is shifting to valuing viewable impressions instead.
Google recently conducted a study of display advertising platforms like DoubleClick to see what affects the viewability of an ad. That study has resulted in a nice infographic showing the 5 factors of viewability. I will give you the quick tour:
5 Factors of Viewability
The new industry standard for viewability as defined by the Media Rating Council is 50% of an ad’s pixels being visible on the screen for a minimum of one second. Viewability rate is the percentage of “viewable” ads out of the total number of ads measured.
- State of publisher viewability — most non-viewable impressions are served by a small number of publishers. The average publisher viewability is 50.2%, but 56.1% of all measured impressions are not seen.
- Page postion — right above the fold is the most viewable position. You’d think it would be top of the page, but that isn’t the case.
- Ad size — vertical units stay on the screen longer as the viewer moves around on that page.
- It isn’t always viewable above the fold — 68% above-the-fold are viewable, but a respectable 40% below-the-fold are viewable, too.
- Highest viewability holds a user’s attention — so it varies across industries & content verticals.
What Does This Mean?
It looks like it comes down to the same thing that marketing has always had as a bottom line: you have to know your customer and your business before you can come up with an online marketing strategy that is appropriate. The Google guys suggest we aim for above 50% viewability to hit an average viewability rate. They also say that the position, size, and placement of the ad should be carefully considered. It looks like below-the-fold might be worth more than once thought, too.
Viewable impressions are important enough to do some more studies on. It will be interesting to see what the next year holds for internet marketers and ads.