Your Advertising Dollars at Work: Understanding Video Viewability

People in the United States are consuming more digital media than ever before, and advertisers are taking advantage of this by placing ads on website and mobile devices. However, when it comes to the effectiveness of ads, most media planners use served impressions or pay-per-click to evaluate. Thanks to new advancements, advertisers have improved ways to measure their ROI – with viewability.

Let’s start with the definition of “viewability”

According to Media Rating Council, a displayed ad is considered viewable when at least 50% of an ad’s pixels are in view on the screen for a minimum of one second. That means if you hear a video playing on a page, and you scroll down to find it and at least half of the screen appears for one second before you stop it—that counts as a viewable impression.

Think with Google summarized 5 factors that affect whether an ad is viewable.

  1. State of publisher viewability
    A small number of platforms serve most of the non-viewable impression, but the average platforms/websites viewability is 50.2 percent.
  1. Page positions
    Most people might assume the top of the page has higher viewability, but actually the most viewable position is right above the fold, (the lowest part of the screen visible before scrolling).
    Still, the best page position depends on the flow of the ads, for horizontal design, centered is the most viewable; while in vertical position, top of page is the most viewable.
  1. Ad size
    The most viewable ad sizes are vertical units, since they stay on screen longer as users move around a page. On the other hand, a bigger size ad does not necessarily yield higher viewability – it’s about the ratio of width to height. Taller is better.
  1. Devices
    Video ads are significantly more viewable on mobile and tablet devices than on desktop, because of the users’ media consumption behavior.
  1. Viewability varies across industry
    The standard of “high” viewability varies among industries, thus check the industry average before you set your goal. In additions, content is more crucial factor that holds users attentions.

Google, “The Importance of Being Seen: Viewability Insights for Digital Marketers and Publishers” study, November 2014.

Google, “Are Your Video Ads Making an Impression?” study, April 2015.


Having a hard time understanding the viewability concept? Check this video!

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