How Does Google Measure Ad Viewability

How Does Google Measure Ad Viewability

According to Google’s research on ad measurement, there is an increased interest in ad viewability among the advertisers and publishers in the digital advertising industry. If an ad isn’t measured as viewable, it cannot impact the campaign performance and improve inventory value.

Many ad networks consider Viewable impressions as the advertising currency, replacing the served impressions for all campaigns. This data enables advertisers to identify how many times a creative was seen, making it easier to understand their campaigns’ true impact. They’ll know which inventory provides the high or low value and target accordingly to maximize reach. Likewise, Publishers would also know their best-performing inventory and be able to formulate their optimization strategies better.

How is viewability measured?

Google uses Active view technology to determine if your ad is viewable by the users on a website or in an app. This technology evaluates ad viewability based on creative measurement to fully comply with MRC Viewable Ad Impression guidelines by using a special DIV inserted during rendering to locate and measure the ad creative within the ad iframe.

Per IAB and MRC definition, an active view ping is considered if an ad meets the following criteria:

  • Display: 50% of the ad’s pixels are visible in the browser window for 1 continuous second. For larger ads (those having greater than 242,000 pixels), 30% of the pixels are visible in the browser window.
  • Video: at least 50% of its area is visible while the video is playing for at least 2 seconds.

Active View is integrated into all of Google’s advertising products and measures every impression in real-time whether an ad was viewable.

What are Active view metrics?

Active view metrics are calculated based on the total impressions served.

  • Eligible impressions: An impression is considered to be eligible if the ad’s creative has an Active View enabled tag, and the impression is counted with a downloaded pingback.
  • Measurable impressions: Not all impressions are measurable by Active View, as some factors may prevent the data from being captured, such as impressions that are rendered in a cross-domain iframe. This metric can help you understand how often your ad appeared in locations measured by Active View, a subset of eligible impressions.
  • Viewable impressions: Subset of measurable impressions that were considered viewable based on MRC standards. This metric shows the number of times your ad’s impressions were considered viewable.

How to check active view pingbacks?

All viewability pingbacks can be seen in Chrome Developer Tools.

Step 1: On the Live page, open Chrome dev tools and filter with the keyword  ‘activeview?’ in the Network tab. For video active view pingbacks, type ‘viewable_impression’ in the search bar.

Step 2: After you filter, click on one of the results appearing in Chrome Developer Tools, and you can see more detailed information about it in the right panel.

Step 3: A few important parameters to check here:

  • &id (measurement ID) – Look for &id=osdim in the pingback call to see if the active view is triggered is for GPT Tag/Request or AdX
  • &adk (ad slot ID) – Ensure that this ID is exactly matched with the ad request of the slot and the returned line/creative.
  • &bs (browser size) – If values are in a negative number, the ad was probably un-measurable
  • &mtos (Time on Screen in Milliseconds) – If the values are <1000, the ad is probably not viewable
  • &p (creative coordinates) – The size coordinates passed in the viewability ping should match the creative returned size.

Here’s a sample viewability ping for the size 300×600:

https://pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pcs/activeview?xai=Bwsd_l538U8bVPMvulAeVQBoAYWqBOAAQ&id=osdim&ti=1&r=v&adk=992535377&tt=1018&

bs=1896,804&mtos=1017,1017,1017,1017,1017&tos=1017,0,0,0,0&p=547,819,1147,1119&mcvt=1017&rs=

3&ht=0&tfs=1398&tls=2415&mc=1&lte=1&bas=0&bac=0&avms=geo&bos=1921,1374&ps=1896,9737&ss=2560,1600&pt=1397&deb=1-3-3-4-16-4-78-12&tvt=2360&op=1&uc=34&tgt=DIV&cl=1&cec=13&clc=1&cac=0&cd=1280×100&v=r20180425

How to improve viewability?

Several factors impact viewability and should be considered while trying to boost ad views. Here are few tips to ensure your ad has a better chance of being seen:  

Ad Slot position: Ads placed just above the fold are more likely to be seen (not at the top of the page). This does not mean that you should rule out below-the-fold ads, but these spots are available for lower costs than above-the-fold ads.

Ad Size: Ad viewability on vertical ads is much higher than horizontal ads. Alternatively, you can implement a sticky ad that remains visible on the browser viewport, which yields high viewability and CPMs.

Optimize ads on mobile devices: There are significantly higher viewability rates recorded on mobile devices than desktop and tablet. In recent studies, mobile sites loaded within 5 seconds versus 19 seconds were observed to have 25% higher viewability.

Use lazy loading: On a lazy loading page, the ads tend to load only when the slot is in the user’s viewport. It improves ad viewability, reduces page weight, allowing for a quicker page load time as it delays load or initialization of resources or objects until they’re actually needed to improve performance and save system resources.

Page speed: It is important to ensure that your website has a low page load delay. Page latency causes low viewability as well as high bounce rates. If the page loads with delay, there are chances for the pixel not to fire as the ad wasn’t in the viewport for at least 1 second.

Viewability-based refresh: Ad refresh can increase viewability substantially when the ad slot is refreshed only when the user has been recently active in the window or if the impression was measured as viewable rather than just refreshing based on a standard timer.

Rendering Errors: If the ad creative does not render, or if the ad slot appears as a blank space, then the ad isn’t measured as viewable. On the other hand, if the ad overlaps with the CSS styling elements, such as ‘display:none;’ triggering incorrect size or not aligned within its container, these can interrupt Active view measurement.

For more information regarding Google and viewability be sure to read more about  Active view reporting metrics, how to troubleshoot Active view, and bids on viewable impressions.

Conclusion

Now that you understand how Google measures viewability, be sure to work your way through our list of steps to improve your viewability rates. As mentioned before, advertisers are looking more and more to viewability as a way to determine the success of their ad campaigns. Don’t have the time and expertise to improve viewability rates and optimizing your ads? MonetizeMore is a Google Certified Publisher Partner in the North America region, ready to help take your ad revenue to the next level! Sign up to get started today!

Kean Graham

CEO and Founder at MonetizeMore

Kean is the resident expert in Ad Optimization covering areas like AdSense Optimization, DFP Management, and third-party ad network partnerships. Kean believes in the supremacy of direct publisher deals and holistic optimization as keys to effective and consistent ad revenue increases.

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