App Monetization

The 9 Ad Viewability Definitions You Need to Know

You wanted more transparency across the ad tech ecosystem so we broke down the key components that help measure and improve ad viewability across mobile.

Viewability is an online advertising metric based on whether or not a user can see the ad displayed. This is often determined by using some sort of javascript that launches as soon as the ad loads within the page or app. This code helps measure if the creative is viewable based on the number of pixels loaded, the quality of the creative once loaded, etc.

Viewability metrics are made possible by deploying a pixel on the website, whether desktop or mobile. The process for measuring mobile app ad viewability is a bit different, as it requires publishers to install a software development kit. 

According to the Media Rating Council and IAB guidelines, the guidelines of viewability for a display ad is when at least 50% of the ad is visible on the screen for at least one second. For video ads, a viewable impression refers to an ad where 50% of its pixels are visible and in-focus on screen while the video is playing for a minimum of two seconds. It is important to note that different publishers, platforms, agencies, and brands might have different definitions of viewability. For the purpose of this article, we will focus on the ad viewability guidelines set out above. 

Ad placements change from web to mobile, and ads can sometimes appear below the fold and are therefore less viewable (although there is still a 55% viewability rate for display ads on mobile, so don’t count it out just yet!). It’s important to work with partners that will help monitor this and place impressions in full view for the user, regardless of device.

According to Eugene Faunberg, Director of Ad Operations at Slickdeals, the largest deal sharing platform for discounts and coupons, “viewability is important for publishers for the obvious reason that it’s important for advertisers.” As simple as this statement might sound, the point is that advertisers are willing to pay more for highly viewable and brand safe inventory.

Brand Safety

With the ad tech ecosystem calling for more transparency, publishers are optimizing for viewability and helping bring better results to advertisers in order to drive more ad revenue. 

Tools such as Moat and IAS provide optimization solutions for ad viewability to help publishers eliminate impression waste, maximize yield, and help ads be seen by real people, not bots. 

For publishers, monitoring viewability is important for a good reason: brands are willing to pay higher CPMs for viewable impressions. In addition, some advertising agencies only pay on viewable impressions as a standard policy.

The preferred partner for many premium publishers, Google Ad Server, measures ad viewability with a technology called Active View that also accounts for another metric: measurability. 

How Are Measurability and Ad Viewability Related? 

They are both part of a much bigger picture of your impressions. If you have the total number of impressions served, you can also calculate which of them were eligible, or successfully communicated with the ad server. From there you can narrow it down even further to show which impressions can actually be measured and which were certified as viewable. This gives you a complete and granular idea of your ad performance. 

According to Google, the average video ad viewability is 68% across websites and apps. It’s only 50% for display ads. 

It’s important to note that this also differs between country and region. In APAC you can see both the high and low ends of the spectrum, with Japan showing 59% for video and 42% for display and Thailand showing 81% video and 62% display. Every other country in the world falls somewhere between those two. On top of all that, categories like games, internet, and music, have the highest viewability rates. 

Tracking Viewability

Ad viewability is a hot topic for forward-thinking publishers. App Annie Ascend gives you the ability to track it, with some new metrics that we’ve added to our solution. These metrics include:

  • Measurable Impressions: The number of times an ad appeared on websites or apps in locations that could be measured by Active View Technology. 
  • Measurability (Measurable Rate): A ratio between measurable impressions and  the total number of ad impressions. It shows how often an ad appeared in places that were able to be measured.
  • Unfilled Impressions: The number of impressions that haven’t been filled by the ad server. An alternative view is “Unfilled Impressions Percentage.” 
  • Views Fill: This can be calculated by Ad Completions divided by Ad Requests. Think of it as the fill rate of video ads.
  • Ad Completion Rate: The percent of video ads that have been 100% completed by a viewer. Some ad networks also provide the different percentages of completion, so you may want to take a peek at what your partners provide. Try rewarded video ads if you want to give your users a little incentive to watch!
  • Page RPM: The revenue per thousand impressions based on a specific page.
  • Impressions Per Page View: The number of impressions displayed on each page of your site.
  • UA CPM: If you are investing in advertising, you want to track the CPM you are paying to acquire new users. This can be calculated as Total UA Spent divided by UA Impressions.
  • Viewable CPM: This can be calculated as Total Revenue divided by Viewable Impressions. It is the total CPM that you are being paid for viewable ads in your ad inventory.

With the ad tech ecosystem calling for more transparency, publishers that optimize for ad viewability help improve results for advertisers and drive more ad revenue for themselves.

With App Annie Ascend, publishers can easily track all the metrics that matter to their business in a one-stop solution and make data-driven decisions to boost results.

Learn more about App Annie Ascend, and request a 14-day free trial below.

January 30, 2020

App Monetization

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