Viewability is a metric used in digital advertising for tracking impressions that can be seen or viewed by users. Just because an ad served in an ad unit doesn’t necessarily mean a site visitor has viewed it.
In the space of Programmatic Advertising, both advertisers and publishers are both starting to notice and value viewability. The entire industry is slowly shifting its attention to making sure that ads served are viewed by users.
An ad is considered to be viewable when at least 50% of the ad’s pixels are in view. It is estimated that only an average of 54% of the ads being served in today’s industry is seen.
Factors affecting viewability
Above the fold or ATF placements have the upper hand regarding viewability since they can immediately be on the user’s screen as soon as they enter the page.
However, it is to be noted that page position is not the best indicator for viewability. It varies per site, and there are cases where ATF placements hold lower viewability rates compared to below the fold or BTF units.
Another factor affecting viewability can take the form of ad blocking plugins or programs. These serve to either hide or disable ads from loading when a visitor loads a page. To advertisers or an ad network, an ad has served, and an impression has been recorded, but the placement where the ad loaded is not visible on the screen.
Viewability also varies across different types of content. Some publisher verticals tend to have content that is more engaging to users, keeping them on the page and more likely resulting in them scrolling through all the content and increasing viewability rates significantly.
How will viewability impact both publishers and advertisers?
The shift towards viewability is significant but remains uncertain. There is an ongoing debate on its importance as measurement remains an issue due to the lack of consistency of what designates an impression as ‘viewable’ as well as the technology to be used to measure its viewability.
While the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) has given out its definition of what constitutes an ad to be visible; several vendors use other methods and ways of measurement to track whether an impression is viewable or not. Aside from this, some publishers are worried that this shift to viewability will have a major impact on their ad revenues.
This change will eventually force publishers to move more of their ad units above the fold or to areas where they are more likely to be viewed by a user, affecting user experience in the process.
If the entire industry does indeed shift to space where the viewability metric is one of the key metrics highlighted, there will need to be transparent agreements for both advertisers and publishers alike for it to be successful and eventually accepted.
Advertisers want their ads seen by visitors and viewability can only become more important in the digital advertising industry as time goes by. If you are unsure how to adjust your ad placements for maximum viewability or would like guidance on how you should react, why not let the ad optimization experts take a look at your setup?