To see or not to see: ad viewability study

In Canada 61% of online ads qualify as seen, compared with the global average of 54%, according to Google research on ad viewability.
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Canada consumers see 61% of online advertising, compared to a global average of 54%, according to a new Google study on the viewability of web ads.

The study’s data, gathered from Google’s Active View – the company’s real time technology for measuring whether a user has “seen” an ad or not –also suggests that ad viewability on YouTube is significantly higher at 91% globally.

For the study, Google used the industry standard, as defined by the Media Rating Council and Interactive Advertising Bureau, which says that in order for a video impression to be counted as viewable, at least 50% of the advert’s pixels must be on screen for two consecutive seconds or more.

The viewability of non-YouTube ads however varies drastically across different countries: Canada (61%), U.S. (54%), Mexico (80%), Brazil (76%), Great Britain (58%), Germany (69%), France (69%), Italy (56%), Russia (86%), Japan (83%), South Korea (65%), India (79%) and Australia (64%).

According to the report, other factors contributing to the likelihood of an ad being seen are positioning, size and the type of device an advertisement is being viewed on.

Desktop was shown to lag behind in the viewability stakes. Only 54% of desktop ads are seen, versus 83% on mobile and 81% on tablet.

Unsurprisingly, big ads were shown to be the most effective – however, the most popular ad size (300 x 250) is only seen 20% of the time, while the second most used size (848 x 477) has 89% viewability. YouTube ads meanwhile are 94% viewable on mobile and tablet.

In terms of ad positioning, the more central and the higher up, the more likely an ad is to be viewed, says the report.

With the results of the study, Google made a number of recommendations for advertisers and publishers, which included: invest in larger ads, as opposed to 300 x 250 size; give greater consideration to vertical and horizontal positioning to maximize viewability; use high viewability sites that engage in best practices to optimize the visibility of ads; do not only count samples of impressions, count all of them.