Viewability is a metric used in digital advertising that measures opportunity to see an ad by a real user. According to IAB, for an ad to count as 'viewable' half of it needs to visible to a user for at least 1 second. Based on Google conducted research the average viewability score is around 50.2%*, so hoping for a 100% viewability rate will set you to disappointment. Both publishers and advertisers are striving to increase their viewability rate, but what exactly are the factors we need to take into consideration when it comes to viewability?
What affects the viewability rate?
Viewability rates are affected by multiple reasons, all of which manageable by either side. When it comes to viewability the quality of the websites content, loading speed as well as ads position, size and overall quality all need to be taken in consideration if looking for ways to improve this metric.
Position of the ad
Position of the ad on the website is what influences the viewability the most. Above the fold ads on average have 68% viewability score, compared to 40% for below the fold ads. Based on the statistics, the ideal viewability score you should be aiming for needs to be either the same as average or slightly higher.
Type of ad
Vertical and horizontal ads have different viewability rates. Adverts placed above the fold might have a higher viewability rate, however vertical ads can perform just as good, since a viewer sees the ad while scrolling down the page.
Web Pages loading speed
The banners above the fold might not get accounted as 'viewable' if the web page is loading slowly and a user has already scrolled to below the fold and has missed the ad. Different ad sizes and formats in this case might perform better than others - such as vertical ads, as mentioned before.
Publishers are not the only ones that are accountable for the ad not to be seen by the user. Heavy content banners, that take a long time to load will miss the user's attention. These type of banners might perform better below the fold as it will give them additional time to load.
There are many moving parts when it comes to viewability, all of which depending the amount of qualitative work has been put in from both publishers and advertisers sides.
So what each party can do to help?
Agencies - create lighter banners. Often images perform better than html5 with moving elements since they appear on user's screen faster. Images or gifs perform better in mobile advertising, when users tends to have slow internet speed. Improving the viewability results means - increasing the opportunity of banner to be seen. This then follows by increasing the chances to be noticed. Taking this into consideration, these types of ads at the end might perform better than html5 banners with moving parts.
Publishers, on the other hand, should continuously work on improving the loading speed of their webpage, greatly focusing on the main page since it is the first and most frequently visited page by a user, and the majority of the content is placed on the main page as well. The content of the website and the ad banners should both load at the same time, but asynchronously. You can improve the loading speed of the whole webpage by implementing lazy-load. It's when content below the fold is loading only after a user starts to scroll down. This way banners placed above the fold are not affected by loading of the content which might not be viewed after all.