There can be significant discrepancies between viewability rate and actual on-site interaction and conversion. Take a newspaper’s website for example, although the viewability of the ad positions above the fold is generally over 70 percent, the best results for a rectangle position is far below the fold, embedded within the news articles. The ad is positioned where readers are focused on the content with a higher time spent on page. Although this position has a viewability rate of “only” 35 percent, it outperforms on CPA by 300% for both sales and brand metrics.
What viewability rate should advertisers expect? As a whole, ad networks and exchanges have traditionally delivered lower viewability than media purchased directly from publishers. Currently, average viewability rates for display are 43% while average video viewability rates are even lower at 39%.
Viewability rate is not the same as a viewable guarantee percentage. Though 100% viewability rates are impossible to achieve, it is still possible to make sure that 100% of the impressions you pay for are viewable. This is typically called either a viewable guarantee or vCPM (viewable cost-per-thousand impressions) transaction, and it means you are able to set the requirement for the number (or percentage) of viewable impressions you want to be guaranteed, and that’s all you’ll need to pay for.
Post-viewable conversion tracking. By using viewability as a touchpoint in conversion measurement you can also get insights on whether high viewability resulted in increased on-site behavior, like quality visits (over x seconds on the website), or an interaction on the website like putting a product in the shopping basket.
DSP’s & viewability. Enrich your RTB platform with viewability data to learn and bid smarter and faster on inventory, but don’t forget to check the relation with other KPI’s, like creative interaction and on-site engagement. Various DSP’s are investing heavily in the enrichment of their platform with viewability data. Although this mostly concerns reporting at present, it will find its way into bidding algorithms and smart targeting in the near future.
Viewability & creative. Create smarter ad units by dynamically integrating viewability duration to change the creative content after x seconds. For example, you can change the visible offer after a specific viewability timeframe. Or move your call to action forward as soon as you know you are serving on a page with a low viewability duration. You can also implement this non-dynamically by bundling domains and placements with equivalent viewability durations and serve separate creatives for those groups.
Viewable impressions will cost more than served impressions. After conducting a study across 505 million impressions from nine campaigns, Rocket Fuel found that, of the inventory that could be measured, viewable ads cost 25% more than non-viewable ones. This makes sense because the remaining spots become more valuable as the total available inventory shrinks to ensure higher viewability. They believe that if all stakeholders (advertisers/agencies, ad tech companies, publishers) pitch in to solve the problem of low viewability, everyone will start to realize even higher value from this more expensive inventory pricing.
Viewability as a tool, not a goal. Use viewability as a valuable and efficient way to run smarter advertising and to provide valuable insights, but not as the only goal in itself.