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How Ad Viewability Is Measured In Google Ad Manager?

Ad Viewability in Google Ad Manager
With the promise of viewable impressions being the main currency for display and video advertising, there are two questions digital publishers are asking themselves. How can I convince brands that my ad inventories are viewable? And how do I start using viewability as a key performance indicator?

Viewability was the long-awaited answer to the question of whether or not an ad was actually seen by an individual. With the emergence of IAB and MRC viewability measurement guidelines in 2013, advertisers are paying only for real ad impressions. These standards are designed to measure the percentage of display ad impressions and video ad impressions that are actually seen by users.

Following IAB and MRC, Google ​​has unveiled an in-house tool for measuring ad viewability called Active View. It enables publishers to understand and analyze their ad viewability in Ad Manager. In this article, we will be taking a closer look at this technology and how you can optimize it for higher revenue.

Table of Contents:

What Is Active View?

Active View is Google’s reporting technology that provides insights on the viewability of ad impressions to help you make better campaign decisions. The use of Active View allows you to more accurately measure viewable ad impressions for display and video inventories. If you are using Active View in your Google Ad Manager account, you can rest assured that it is compliant with the IAB and MRC viewability standards.

Related Read: A Quick Guide on MRC Viewability Standards

How To Calculate Active View Metrics?

Active View metrics are calculated by finding out how many impressions are being viewed out of the total number of impressions served. To understand the viewability with Active View technology, you need to understand the following terminologies:

  1. Eligible impression: An eligible impression is one that has successfully communicated with Google Ad Manager while displaying an Active View-enabled ad tag.
  2. Measurable impression: A measurable impression is a subset of eligible impressions that can actually be measured with Active View technology.
  3. Viewable impression: A viewable impression is a subset of measurable impression and the impressions that meet the MRC standards of viewability are only considered as “Viewable impressions”.

How To Calculate % Of Measurable Impressions And % Of Viewable impressions?

Let’s say you served 10,00,000 in total and only 9,00,000 were Active View enabled impressions. Out of 9,00,000, only 7,00,000 ad impressions were measurable. So, % of Measurable impressions can be calculated by dividing the number of Measurable impressions and the number of Eligible impressions i.e.

% of Measurable Ad Impressions = Number of Measurable Ad ImpressionsNumber of Eligible Ad Impressions

In this example, % of Measurable ad impressions will be 7,00,000/9,00,000 = 77.78%. It means ~78% of ad impressions are measurable by Active View.

Now, let’s assume, out of 7,00,000 measurable impressions, 5,00,000 impressions are considered viewable. To calculate the % of Viewable impressions, you need to use the below formula:

% of Viewable Ad Impressions = Number of Viewable Ad ImpressionsNumber of Measurable Ad Impressions

That means, 5,00,000/7,00,000 = 71.42% of ad impressions are viewable.

How Does Active View Measure Ad Viewability?

Google’s Active View uses the following process to measure the viewability of ad impressions:

  1. When an ad is rendered in the ad slot, a <div> with id=GoogleActiveViewElement is injected around the ad creative. It enables Google to identify the location of ad creative precisely within the ad response.
  2. When the viewability measurement starts, Active View locates the injected <div> to measure the exposure of ad creative to the user. As soon as the ad creative loads, Active View starts the measurement by using its Intersection Observer API.

How Does Google Understand Whether The Eligible Impressions Are Viewable?

Google uses a “pingback” URL method to understand how many ad impressions are measurable and viewable. In general, here’s how it works:

  • Google sends a pingback at the beginning of a user session on the website. This indicates that the ad impression found is “not measurable” yet.
  • Another pingback is sent when 50% of the ad creative is 50% is viewable by the user and has been in the browser viewport for at least 1 second for display ad slot and 2 seconds for video ad slot.

These viewability pingbacks can be viewed using Google Chrome’s developer tools or Inspect feature. Here’s an example of viewability pingback URL:



Pro tip: Use the Inspect feature and by using Filter, search for ‘activeview’ in the Network tab. This will show you details related to display ad creatives. In order to check for video ads, type ‘viewable_impression’ in the Filter field.

How To Optimize Active View?

1. Focus on page length

Like it or not, we’re going through a period of time where the amount of content being produced is massive. As a result, the attention span of readers has reduced over the past few years and short-form content is making a comeback. Short-form content is easier to share and can be consumed on small screens like smartphones.

For this reason, there is a lot of evidence out there that shows that shorter content forms convert better and are more effective in consuming visitors’ attention. So, ensure that your article pages are easily scannable and premium ad slots of your page must be within the first fold.

In the case of long-form content, infinite scroll is a design trend that has become popular. As the name suggests, it allows users to continuously scroll and read new content without loading a new page. Learn more about the infinite scroll and how to improve it for better results here.

2. Implement lazy loading techniques

Lazy loading is an easy-to-implement browser enhancement technique that significantly reduces the time it takes for your visitor to load your page. It does this by only loading resources above the fold, which reduces the time it takes for the browser to render the page. In other words, it increases performance for users that care about speed, making it a win-win for everyone. This article will show you how lazy loading can be implemented.

Related Read: What’s the impact of lazy loading ads on ad revenue?

3. Serve responsive ads

A responsive ad fits the dimensions of a specific device. So if someone is viewing your ad on a desktop, a responsive ad will display in a larger format to take up the full space. Others could select to look at their ads via a tablet, where a responsive ad would shrink down to fit within the boundaries of that screen.

As a result, responsive ad format makes your ad inventories more attractive and welcoming to the users who view them, and they also increase the chances that your ads will be viewed correctly on those devices. Wondering how to get started with responsive ads? Look no further. Here’s a step-by-step tutorial on how to set up responsive ads in Google Ad Manager.

4. Optimize video players

Users are becoming accustomed to a premium video player experience, and that means that publishers should be, too. The user experience is paramount for video ads, reflecting the importance of the quality of the video player to prevent abandonment. For example, increasing your video player size can lead to higher viewability rates, an increase in ad recall, and improved brand association with your brand. So, experiment with video players that are larger in size and at the same time, non-intrusive, explore click-to-play features, and sticky ad placements to boost viewability.

For more tips on how to increase ad viewability and optimize your Active View in Ad Manager, check out this article.

What’s Next?

Improving your viewability rates is important for measuring the success of your ad campaigns. Advertisers and brands want to know their ads are viewed by consumers. In fact, they want higher standards too. The higher the ad viewability, the more they will pay for your ad inventories. Therefore, whether it is through internal data or through Google’s Active View technology, viewability is something that you should pay more attention to. 

Interested in improving ad viewability rates and optimizing your ad campaigns? If so, check out our Active Exposure Time. Not only does AXT promise to increase revenue per session, but it also assures you high ad viewability for the ad impressions. Learn more about it here.

Automatad Team

At Automatad, we help publishers to monetize better without hampering the user experience. Our products are live across hundreds of publishers, earning them incremental ad revenue with every passing second. You can request a free audit to get an estimated revenue uplift today.

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