A yearlong study on ad viewability has concluded that while this metric is critical for campaigns to succeed, it’s not the only factor advertisers should look at.
Created by Magna, IPG Media Lab, and Moat, the study shows that improved viewability is strongly linked with an increase in conversions. Viewability includes two factors—the amount of the ad shown on screen and the time the ad was on screen—and both are important for converting viewers. The more exposure viewers had to an ad, the more likely they were to respond.
However, advertisers shouldn’t make viewability their only goal. Other factors that show whether or not viewers are paying attention—such as how long they watch the ad and whether or not they interact with it—are even better metrics of strong campaign performance. Advertisers also need to look at total campaign cost, the ad format, ad frequency, and the publisher web site if they want strong results.
Surprisingly, the study doesn’t take a stand on which measure is the better one. The Media Rating Council (MRC) considers a display ad viewable if half its pixels are on the screen for one second. For video ads, they need to be on screen for two consecutive seconds. Other people believe ads should be fully on-screen to be considered viewable. This study compared campaign performance using three standards—50 percent in view, 80 percent in view, and 100 percent in view—and found that no matter which definition was used the performance was nearly identical in terms of viewability rates and conversions.
“It isn’t always possible to access inventory to deliver extremely high (80+) percent of impressions that are MRC-viewable. Because some placements don’t have extremely high viewability levels, open up viewability requirements to reach a larger audience,” the report concludes. “Experiment to find the best performing combination of viewability rates and engagement levels, especially given other factors can play a role in performance.”