DEFINING THE VIEWABLE IMPRESSION
What is a Viewable Impression?
These impressions are called viewable, as although we cannot know where every user is looking on a screen, an ad appearing on-screen means there was at least the chance for it to be seen. This is as different to an ad that was loaded onto a page below the fold (and never seen by anyone).
The intention this type of ad impression came about is that previously (as late as 2014) 54% of all ads were loaded in places they would never be seen by anyone. This is in fact due to a relatively small percentage of websites sending a very large amount of these ads.
It was plenty of a problem that the advertising industry has worked to address, however.
VI is a term used for online advertising metrics. It denotes an ad delivered onto a web page in a place that could be seen by the user.
What Makes a Viewable Impression?
In VI Viewability matters for publishers. Google Ad Manager Data indicates that growing ad viewability from 50% to 90% results in an 80% increase in revenue. That’s an inspiring increase. But what is viewability, exactly?
In the most basic sense, ad viewability is just how visible ads are to users. The standards and measurement tools around viewability have progressed over time to help publishers and advertisers better transact on viewability campaigns. Now, it has become less of a bespoke KPI and more of a transactional metric that is measured at table stakes by most advertisers.
The necessity for viewability tools came into concentration in 2014, when a report by Google found that a staggering 56% of digital ads were not seen by a human. This disclosure understandably troubled advertisers and publishers were then tasked with providing a set of metrics that could quantify the viewability of their inventory. So the industry is set to work.
Viewability Standards Are Set
Viewability Standards in the same year, the Media Rating Council (MRC) in conjunction with the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) released a set of viewability standards that aimed to talk about this issue. The new standard set was that 50% of a display ad’s pixels were in view for a minimum of one second. In 2015, standards were added for video (50% in view for two seconds), and in 2016 mobile standards were supplied as well.
It was by these standards that Google launched its Active View technology to measure viewability and integrated it into its suite of Google Ad products. Google’s viewability metrics are calculated by weighing viewable impressions against measurable impressions and overall eligible impressions.
But viewability standards sustained to evolve. In particular, agencies began releasing specific standards, building on the MRC and IAB standard. Some agencies set standards requiring that impressions are 100% in-view and for video, 100% in-view with 50% of the ad played with sound-on.
Key Advertising Viewable Standards and Definitions
To break down these differences in a helpful table, we first have to summarize a few key definitions:
- Measurement: What is a viewable impression
- In-View: How much of the ad must be visible
- Timing: How long the ad must be visible for