Google: 56% of online ads aren’t seen

Sarah Homewood
By Sarah Homewood | 4 December 2014

More than half (56.1%) of all digital impressions of online ads are not seen, according to Google. 

Google garnered these results, published in a blog post, from its own Active View tool, in a bid to understand the current state of viewable impressions, on the web, off the back of the increased interest in transparency globally about viewability of digital inventory among brand advertisers and publishers.

Google's research found that a small number of publishers are serving most of the non-viewable impressions causing the numbers to be skewed slightly higher. This means overall 56.1% of all impressions are not seen, however the average publisher viewability sits at 50.2%.

Earlier this year the definition surrounding what is considered as 'viewed' was that the inventory must be screened for at least one second and be at least 50% loaded. Video ads are to be counted as 'viewed' if they played for two seconds. Viewability as a measure is still currently being trialled in the US and Australia.

CEO of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Alice Manners told AdNews that the IAB Australia supports the move towards viewability and is in the process of working with agencies and publishers to educate the market on the measure.

“Everyone agrees that the move towards viewable impressions is the right thing for the industry,” Manners said. “There are still technical challenges around it and reasonable expectations should be set in monitoring impressions.”

Manners also explained that the IMAAG group, which is a merger of IAB's Agency Advisory Board and the MFA's Interactive Committee, is currently in the process of developing a code of conduct which will focus on fraudulent traffic, viewability and verification.

Read where the IAB stands on the issue of viewablilty here.

Google could not provide any specific numbers regarding the Australian market however a spokesperson told AdNews: "Digital advertising is transparent and measurable. Advertisers know that not all ads are viewed, just like not all billboards are seen.

“For those advertisers who want more certainty around viewability, our Active View product charges advertisers only for ads that are viewed. This report offers tips to help make ads more viewable.”

One such tip for making an ad viewable online is that the position on the page matters. The most viewable position is right above the fold, not at the top of the page. You can see Google's post in full here.

For more news:
Google says less than half served ads are viewed: Where does the IAB stand?
IAB forms Brand Safety Council to tackle ad fraud
Publishers face major shift in ad measurement as viewability rolls out

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