Active View: How Google Ad Manager Measures Ad Viewability

Updated on: December 29, 2023
Learn how Active View can help you understand ad viewability and optimize ad revenue.

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

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.

What Is Active View?

Active View is Google’s reporting technology that provides insights into the viewability of ad impressions to help you make better campaign decisions. The use of Active View allows you to measure viewable ad impressions for display and video inventories more accurately. 

If you use Active View in your Google Ad Manager account, you can rest assured that it complies 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 determining 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 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 impressions, and the impressions that meet the MRC standards of viewability are only considered “Viewable impressions”.

Calculate the % 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 precisely identify the location of ad creative within the ad response.
  2. Active View locates the injected <div> to measure the exposure of ad creative to the user when the viewability measurement starts. Active View starts the measurement using its Intersection Observer API as soon as the ad creative loads.

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 the display ad slot and 2 seconds for the video ad slot.

These viewability pingbacks can be viewed using Google Chrome’s developer tools or Inspect feature.

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

How To Optimize Active View?

1. Focus on page length

Like it or not, we’re going through a period 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 returning. 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 only loads resources above the fold, reducing the browser’s time to render the page. 

In other words, it increases performance for users that care about speed, making it a win-win for everyone.

3. Serve responsive ads

A responsive ad fits the dimensions of a specific device. So if someone views 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 to fit within that screen’s boundaries.

As a result, a 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, which 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, increased ad recall, and improved brand association with your brand. So, experiment with video players that are larger and, at the same time, non-intrusive, and explore click-to-play features and sticky ad placements to boost viewability.

What’s Next?

Improving your viewability rates is important for measuring the success of your ad campaigns. Advertisers and brands want to know consumers view their ads. In fact, they want higher standards too. 

The higher the ad viewability, the more they will pay for your ad inventories. Therefore, whether through internal data or through Google’s Active View technology, you should pay more attention to viewability. 

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