KPI Viewability: Visible ads for sustainable and successful commercialization

Successfully marketed websites have long since ceased to be characterized by high traffic alone. Visibility is what counts. In the following article, we explain what you as a publisher or advertiser should know about viewability.

When is an ad really "visible"?

The visibility of advertising media determines the success of a campaign. This is because only visible ads, so-called "viewable impressions," effectively have the opportunity to be seen by users. By the way, the common term "ad impression" only defines the delivery of an advertising medium via an ad server, but not whether it also lands in the visible area of the website.

According to the international standard of the Interactive Advertising Bureau IAB, an impression is considered visible if at least 50% of the ad is in the visible area of the user for at least 1 second and at least one pixel of the ad has been loaded. The associated viewability rate defines the proportion of effectively visible impressions compared to ad impressions.

Viewability rates vary depending on the advertising format and end device. Factors such as positioning, user behavior or technical conditions such as Internet speed, loading time of the website and the advertising media, etc. influence the visibility of an ad. For example, a half-page ad on the desktop has a significantly higher visibility due to its positioning than a rectangle on the smartphone, which can be quickly scrolled away by the user.

Viewability standards: The demands from the market

Viewability is therefore an important success factor and plays a significant role in the planning and goal setting of campaigns. The aim is to achieve the highest possible proportion of viewable impressions. A viewable rate of 100% means that all booked ad impressions are delivered as viewable impressions, i.e. they are 100% visible.

In addition to the highest possible viewability rate, agencies and advertisers generally demand higher standards from publishers. For example, GroupM has set its viewability standard for display ads at 100/1. This means that 100% of the ad must be in the visible area of the website for at least 1 second. For larger ads of 242,000 pixels or more (e.g. wideboard format: 994x250 = 248,500 pixels), this applies to 50% of the ad. Advertisers thus only pay for ads that meet the specified visibility. This is implemented via a so-called viewable cost-per-mille (vCPM).

To meet such requirements, publishers and marketers face new challenges. Traffic is no longer just traffic, because sustainable and successful monetization requires high-quality traffic. This means that websites with good visibility scores are automatically more attractive.

More transparency through Digital Ad Trust

With the aim of promoting transparency in digital advertising, the IAB Switzerland Association, the Leading Swiss Agencies (LSA) and the Swiss Advertisers Association (SWA) have launched the cross-association Digital Ad Trust initiative.

Digital Ad Trust sets standards and certifies publishers and marketers in the areas of viewability, ad fraud, brand safety and user experience. The viewability label requires an average viewability rate of at least 55% for the formats Wideboard, Halfpage Ad and Rectangle. In addition, the viewability rate per format must be shown in the media rates. Goldbach supports the Digital Ad Trust initiative and meets the requirements in all four areas.

Technologies for more viewability

In addition to "Digital Ad Trust" certification, Goldbach uses other technologies to optimize the delivery of ads. For example, "lazy loading" is used to delay the loading of the ad. The ad is only delivered when a user is in the visible area of the website. Another option is "viewability targeting," which ensures that an ad is played in accordance with the required viewability rate. In addition, suitable advertising formats that meet the requirements of the market and are therefore attractive to advertising customers (see e.g. Videohead) are constantly being tested.

What about your current visibility rates and where do you stand in the market comparison?

Of course, we are also happy to help you optimize your viewability. We analyze your starting position and provide you with your viewability rates on the ad impressions we deliver in the Goldbach Dashboard. Compare your values with the average viewability rates of the Goldbach Display Network or the Swiss average according to the Digital Ad Trust Report.

We will be happy to advise you on optimization options . Browse through our list of best practices and get concrete tips for your practice. Also think about new layouts and include the user journey in your considerations. For technical analyses and optimizations, we will gladly put you in touch with our competent partners.

Do you have any questions or would you like to learn more?

Manuel Sommer, Senior Partner & Product Manager at Goldbach Audience, is at your disposal.