tesT Assemblog - Media Assembly

Are your viewable ads being viewed?


A recent Online Media Daily article reiterated what ComScore and Nielsen point out regularly (in their key findings reports) and what everyone in the online marketing/advertising industry already knows: “roughly half — or in this case 54% — of digital ads aren’t even viewable.”

Here’s the quick background: banner ad impressions that are above the fold are viewable 49% of the time. Below-the-fold impressions are viewable 30% of the time. Alarmingly, marketers do not know if 40% of their viewable ads were placed above or below the fold. The data comes from Infectious Media who defined “viewable” in the same way the IAB does: “at least half of the ad must be in view for a minimum of one second.” Moreover, Infectious Media stated that campaign performance is more closely tied to exposure (how long the ad was viewable) than frequency and recent data suggests the actual “seen rate” of online ads is around 14%!!!

Whether we like it or not, the truth is – Internet users are not seeing all served ads and therefore we need to find better ways of reporting/optimizing online ad campaigns. Impression data is a critical component of how we measure performance. CTRs (click-through rates), one measure of banner ad engagement, can only be calculated based on ads that are seen and CTRs that don’t account for viewable impression may be off by a huge percentage. Attribution modeling, another element critical to understanding campaign success, must also be adjusted for viewable impressions because view-through credit is entirely based on an actual view. As such, an accurate performance report should not count unviewed impressions in determining key performance indicators.

The IAB, ANA and 4As are taking steps towards correcting this very big problem and have recently called for a “viewable impression standard”, which would require that an ad fully loads AND enters into the viewable space on a user’s screen for at least one second in order for it to be counted as an impression. Should this standard be adopted then more dollars can be poured into digital advertising and we can guarantee an even higher level of accountability to our clients.

One Response to “Are your viewable ads being viewed?”

  1. Michael Spitalnik Says:

    Only the tip of the iceberg. Yes, the ad must be viewable, but it must also have relevancy. As a matter of opinion, a non-relevant viewable ad, served too many times, may be harmful to the brand.

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