What Is Viewability?

Viewability is a metric used in digital advertising that measures how many times an ad has been viewed by consumers. This is called viewable impressions.

The two types of impressions measured are: served impressions and eligible and measured impressions. Served impressions are advertisements counted by server data which do not support information on how a consumer behaves. Eligible and measurable impressions are stored on mobile devices and are not seen by the consumer.

How is viewability measured?

Viewability measurement is continually developing as this type of advertising becomes increasingly popular. Definitions for how to measure viewability will differ depending on individual marketers and providers.

To be measured as viewable, a display ad that is less than 970×250 pixels needs to be 50% visible for more than one second. For video ads, at least 50% needs to be visible for more than two seconds while the video is playing. Active View is a technology that measures the viewability of ads and is mainly used on YouTube or other Display Network websites and apps.

Why does viewability matter? 

Digital advertisers use viewability to measure the effectiveness of an ad campaign and to efficiently spend the advertising budget. If viewability is not measured, it is difficult to know who is seeing the ads and if the advertising money is being spent in the best way possible. Using viewability as a marketing tool gives advertisers a clearer picture of what needs to be done to get better results.

How to improve ad viewability 

Improving ad viewability is the publisher’s responsibility. They must design web pages in a way that will ensure the ad has maximum viewability. To ensure an ad is viewable without scrolling, publishers can place the ad ‘above the fold’ or make it a ‘sticky’ ad. Above the fold means the user does not need to scroll down to view the page. A ‘sticky’ ad is one that is locked in a designated location when the user scrolls throughout the page. 

Another way to improve ad viewability is to have mobile-friendly sites. This is becoming the industry standard as the majority of consumers use either a mobile phone or tablet to view webpages.

The speed of a site is an important factor in improving ad viewability. When a user has to wait on a page to load because it is filled with ads from multiple networks, they will typically click away from the page, which decreases ad viewability. 

An additional approach to improve ad viewability is the design of the page. Keeping the page symmetrical, having a clear visual hierarchy, equal proportions, and a clean design will help increase ad viewability.

Ad viewability and the future of marketing

With the shift to viewable impressions slowly taking place, the way advertisers spend their budget will change. Advertisers will know how many times an ad was viewed and therefore see the impact the ad had on sales. Publishers will have a better understanding of the site’s performance and can optimize ad viewability.

Today there are an abundance of ads through digital media. The ability to measure viewable impressions will decrease the amount of ads seen via digital media. This is because there will only be viewable impressions, not served impressions on the site, which is the current standard for digital advertising.