Even the most creative and high-converting ad won’t work if users don’t see it – this is a widely-known and accepted truth. As more and more advertisers realized this, the concept of viewability developed, and is now essential for all who want to pay for users to actually see their ads.
What is ad viewability?
Ad viewability, as the name suggests, is the characteristic of an ad impression, which hasn’t only been produced, but actually seen by a user.
Traditionally, ad agencies worked on a served impression basis, i. e. to bill an advertiser they counted the number of ads displayed, regardless of whether they were seen. It led to a situation where up to 54% of all ads were not visible at all – while still paid for by advertisers. Moreover, a survey conducted by Undertone showed that 53% of publishers didn’t even consider viewability as a factor of importance.
Now, viewability metrics are being accepted by more and more advertising and analytical companies such as OnScroll, C3 Metrics, Comscore and AdYapper (as well as requested by advertisers) in order to ensure higher quality of ad campaigns, although it is still a long way to 100% viewability.
Why is ads viewability important?
Imagine that you have paid for a thousand ad impressions promoting our DermaNova CPA offer only to find out that it gives absolutely no boost to your sales or even site visits. While this is an exaggeration, it gives you an idea of what happens when you don’t take viewability into account – you lose money. To be more specific: even if a user never scrolled down to see your ad, you would still be charged.
And this is not the worst-case scenario! There are fraud schemes built to report a bigger number of served impressions, while in fact they have been neither displayed, nor seen. In short, an ad trader might resell a single ad slot multiple times, having stuffed hidden webpages into it. Each of these pages has slots of its own, which are then resold for more ads. Expectedly, these ads will be stuffed over each other and never be visible.
The only drawback of viewable impressions is that their cost is actually higher due to a potentially higher quality and number of views/clicks. Many advertising companies and networks are adopting a viewable impressions-based pricing model. Google started to provide advertisers with the ability to pay for only those impressions that have been seen in December, 2013. For Google, “viewable” ad impression means “if 50% of the image is displayed for 1 second” (2 seconds for video ads).
This summer, Google is arranging a complete automatic transition from CPM bidding (cost-per-thousand impressions) to viewable CPM bidding (cost-per-thousand viewable impressions) for banners and textual ads. Yet the new option won’t be available for some campaigns, including those targeting mobile apps. They recommend advertisers to slightly increase their bids to achieve better results in a viewable campaign; for example, if your bid for a thousand impressions was $1, with the transition to viewability it will be more effective to increase it to $1.5 or even $2. Advertisers are recommended to adjust their campaigns before the migration happens.
Therefore, if you are using this kind of promotion for our diet and beauty CPA offers, make sure the provider uses viewability metrics. Otherwise, you risk spending your money in vain. If you are already using Google AdWords for promotion, take measures to make the transition as smooth as possible. More information for Google advertisers is available here.