Viewability Rate: When 50% of the ad is in view for more than 1 second

Viewability is a post-impression metric used by advertisers to measure the number of times an advertisement was “viewed” during the campaign. The IAB’s (Internet Advertising Board) current definition of viewablity is that a ‘view’ counts as a user viewing half of an advertisement ( ie: 50%)  for one second. It is worth mentioning that the IAB definition is one of the most contentious in digital measurement today.  Currently, there are too many definitions and methodologies for viewability to be consistent across the industry. But Gourmet Ads is moving forward with what we consider as “best case”.

How is viewability calculated?

It’s a two step process:

1. How many placements were “in view” as defined by the IAB? At least 50% of each ad must be in view for more than 1 second.

2. Viewability is then easily calculated as a percentage represented by the formula:

(Counted Views / Total Impressions Served) X 100 = Viewability %

Why is viewability important?

Viewability is a common sense metric – the more an advertisement is seen by a given audience, the more effective it is. An advertisement that isn’t seen, obviously can’t be effective! This is why advertisers are demanding high viewability when ordering campaigns.

Healthy Ads now offers advertisers and their agencies high viewability targeting. Time and time again, advertisers and their agencies have said they are prepared to pay Publishers more when their site is highly viewable, which is why Gourmet Ads has taken an “all in” approach to viewability providing all Publishers:

  • Viewability reporting at the domain level  – month to date (updated daily)
  • Viewability reporting at the placement level, and broken out by day (updated daily)

Within the Healthy Ads Publisher Console we now provide publishers three levels of viewability shown as:

  • Under 50% – Significant improvement required
  • 50% – 80% – Improvements required!
  • 80% + Well done & above industry standard!

How can Publishers improve viewability?

It’s essential that publishers who have low viewability ratings, make the investment in time (and possibly investment in web development for a redesign) to make their site highly viewable.  It’s an investment that will pay off as more advertisers buy this way. Here are some ideas to improve your website’s viewability:

  • Hard code ad tags to the page and don’t use iFrames!
    By coding the ad tag Javascript directly onto the webpage, we can accurately measure the exact viewability rating. Measuring viewability from within an iFrame can be done, however not perfect and does skew the rating downwards.
  • Load ads in line with rest of page
    Because viewability is measured by the time ads are seen, the longer the ads are in view the higher the rating. Some Publishers load ads as the last thing on the page, however this can contribute to low viewability ratings as well.
  • Ensure that you have 2 above-the-fold placements
    This doesn’t always automatically ensure high viewability, but it’s what measurement companies deem as best practice from a design perspective.
  • Design pages where no scroll is required
    This ensures that the page is 100% “in view” (See RecipeBridge Homepage as an example). Could your homepage be the place to start with this strategy?
  • Remove multiple below-the-fold placements
    This is a consistent way of lifting a website’s viewability score. One placement below-the-fold is fine, but no more than that. Publishers that have an advertisement in the footer or below the footer will continually have a low viewability score, as a very small percentage of audience will scroll to the bottom.
  • Redesign your website
     It may be worth redesigning your website to ensure that your site rates highly for viewability.
  • Lock below-the-fold placements on scroll
    Our Publisher team has recently seen major publishers like Linkedin and Sydney Morning Herald combat viewability issues by locking below-the-fold ads in scroll. Take a look at the video.

As a Healthy Ads Publisher, whatever you do we highly recommend implementing some changes to your site to lift your viewability rate.

WordPress Plugin

For Publishers with WordPress, this plugin locks the ads in the sidebar and allows them to stay at the top right hand side upon scroll. Implementing this will certainly boost your viewability.