Factors that affect viewability and best practices to improve them

Many of us are aware that ads are calculated by impressions. When a page loads and if the ad is anywhere on that page, it counted. But there was a serious problem with this; that if the ad lies beneath the fold of page and the user didn’t scroll to see it was an obvious problem with this: if the ad was below the fold of the page, and the user didn’t scroll down to see it, the ad cannot be seen then. And unseen advertisements don’t deliver results impacting the Advertisers revenue.

With more and more advertisers today looking for transparency and effectiveness, ad viewability comes in.

Viewability is a metric that advertisers use to evaluate the number of times an ad is “viewed” throughout the campaign. As per the IAB’s (Internet Advertising Board) recent description – “viewability is when half of ad (ie 50%) is in view for one second”. It is significant to mention that the definition from IAB is one of the most debatable descriptions in digital capacity today. Though there are a lot of definitions and methods for viewability to be constant across the industry, but “best case” is what needs to be considered.

Ads viewability is greatly linked to the publisher’s profits. Thus, maximizing it will help in getting an improved return on investment. The term “ad viewability” simply refers to the visibility of your ads to users. It plays a huge responsibility towards website performance. However, the concept is pretty new in digital advertising, ads viewability has been trending a lot.

Factors that Enhance Ads Viewability

When it concerns viewability of ads, there are a lot of aspects that play an important role. For creating revenue generating ads, several aspects such as ad placement, quality or size is taken into consideration. Here we list some of the factors and their importance in ad viewability.

Advertisement size – Based on a study by Google, the size of your ad impact viewability. This study demonstrates that the most viewable ad size is the vertical units. The highest visibility ad unit size for vertical units is 120 x 240 and for horizontal ad units, the highest viewability size is 234 x 60. Though the larger ad units have high click rates but do not account for high viewability.

Perfect viewability – Set realistic goals and maintain the approach keeping in mind that the average publisher ads viewability is at 50.2%. Any publishers can accomplish average viewability rate by aiming 50% viewability.

Page arrangement – Referring to the same research, ads that are placed exactly above the fold are largely viewable while those located at the top of page have less viewability. Having said this, ads above the fold have a median viewability of 68% and those below the fold had an average viewability of 40%.
Page length – Research says, shorter the content higher is the viewability. A single fold page makes it easy for users to get through content more effortlessly. Sometimes sluggish loading becomes effective in getting better ads viewability. 

(Source: https://support.google.com/dfp_premium/answer/6199883?hl=en )

Viewability differs by industry – There is noteworthy difference in viewability across diverse industries. Websites with additional captive content have the highest viewability. Reference sites are positioned with the highest viewability of 51.9%, pursued at a rate of 48.9% by online communities.
Responsive Designs – A good user experience is created by developing responsive ads. Receptiveness makes sure that ads are browser and device compatible making it convenient for viewers and bettering ads viewability and returns for your business.

Page design – Page design is yet another major factor playing a crucial role in your ad viewability. Following a good design standard can notably help in gaining improved viewability. Streamlined page symmetry, fresh and clean design visuals make a page pleasing with enhanced viewability.

Loading speed – It is natural that a website with ads from different ad networks is coupled with high load time. Because of poor load time, the users tend to get away from website without even viewing the ads. Thus, it is important to concentrate on speeding your page and ad load times in order to improve viewability. Some techniques to improve load speed of ad/ page

– Decrease passbacks while making use of Google Publisher Tags
– Positioning ads in parallel with page content
– Executing smart loading for ad units

Fixed Ad position: Nowadays publishers are repeatedly interested in employing a fixed placement, or position so that the ads can stay within a selected area of the page even when the user scrolls down the page. This implementation or method is known as Sticky Ads. These kinds of ads mostly guarantee the ad viewability to count.

Content for Sidebar – If you are looking for enhanced user experience and increased viewability, go for a mobile-responsive pattern. Along with this, make sure about the presentation of your sidebar content within this template. This would help in optimum visibility of the sidebar content even after the page is zoomed by the user.

Performance measurement: One must strictly track metrics, to review the ad performance. It is always advisable to use third party software to calculate and authenticate viewability of ads.
Keep minimum ad content – Do not exaggerate the content. Almost for all the users, interfering ads and pop-ups are always irritating because they compel them to witness the content. You should always keep away from filling your page with one ad after other, even if you wish to be seen frequently.

Non-transparent iFrames– iFrames (cross-domain) may hamper access to fundamental information, such as coordinates, texts and URLs. Because of this, they can cause difficulty in measuring ad viewability. Try to avoid iFrames whenever possible.

Preventing advertising frauds: Advertisers make use of viewability to assist in identifying fake sites and practices. Examples of impression fraud include Ad Stacking and auto-refreshed ads. Despite the fact that they can advance impression volume that largely maximizes ad revenue, but at the same time they can be very uncertain.

Best practice for Ads Viewability

All the factors painted above are vital if you desire for superior ads viewability. Listing here some of the best practices to enhance ad viewability:

Utilize most of the room on top of the fold of your website. As you know better, that the ads positioned in this vicinity get the most visibility, so give more attention to optimizing this space. Scrutinize each and every page elements to look for improvements in ads. You can build the masthead slightly lean or trim down the space occupied by your videos.

Since we already know that users are more biased towards specific kind of content and are more likely to pause by the same. These specific types of content include photos, videos, promos, exciting offers etc. This type of content is known as slow content. Given that the users take time to stop and view slow content, try insertion of your ads near them for elongated views.

Hold backloading your ads until they roll into view. This is identified as lazy loading. By means of this method one can greatly progress its ad viewability score and page load time.

Experimentation with a range of ad sizes and looking for the one that works best for you. Although it is mentioned above that vertical ad sizes of 120 x 240 ad units achieve the best throughout the various websites, you may perhaps want to spot which size goes well with your ads best. Decide on the top-performing dimension and carry out tests to measure as to how your viewability gets better with each size.

Keep on maintaining and making improvements to your page design to lessen page load time. This will not only assist you in gaining better ad viewability but also guarantees better performance across every facet. Whether the user experience is considered or faster conversion rates matter, a quicker load time could boost your overall metrics and performance.

Automtad’s AXT provides 100% viewability without hindering your user experience. Click here to learn more about how you can achieve this.

With the industries and online businesses attaining a hold on the best methods to calculate viewability, we could now see more and more consumer’s change their way towards purchasing inventory based on viewability, making the rest of the industry to follow the techniques.

Some of the important trends in the industry such as SSL, ad blocking, HTML5/Flash, Google AMP etc, can seriously affect viewability. Thus, it is pivotal to make viewability reporting, optimization and benchmarking a part of your digital publication. It is also necessary that publishers with low viewability ratings of ads, make the investment in time, perhaps investment to redesign their website to make it highly viewable. Always have an action plan in place to monitor the factors and start working on boosting ad viewability.

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