WHAT IS AD VIEWABILITY AND HOW DOES IT IMPACT YOUR REVENUE
Written by publift2019
28 May, 2020
Ad viewability can have a direct impact on the publisher’s revenue. Being able to monitor and optimise ad viewability can directly increase your CPM rates.
Publift has done research on the ad performance on the sites we manage. We’ve seen a direct correlation between the average effective cost per mile (eCPM) and ad viewability.
What does ad viewability mean?
Let’s start by agreeing upon the ad viewability definition. An ad impression is viewable if at least 50% of the ad’s pixels are in the user’s view for more than one second, according to a definition agreed by the IAB and supported by Google and other digital advertising actors. Viewability rate is the percentage of total ad impressions that were deemed viewable.
What impact does ad viewability have on publisher’s revenues?
Advertisers know that ads with high viewability, generate a better return on investment for their campaigns. So advertisers are targeting sites and ads with high viewability. They are also willing to pay a lot more to win these viewable impressions. On the flip side, advertisers are excluding sites and ad placements with less viewable ads because they know they are adding very little to the performance of their advertising campaigns.
How can you determine if your low ad viewability score is affecting your revenue?To help you determine if low viewability is affecting your revenue, we’ve outlined a step-by-step process for you.
- First, check your account average ad viewability for your AdX/AdSense account for the last month.
- Go to Query Tool > New Query, then select last month as the date range, month as the report dimension, and select ‘Active View viewable’ in the report metrics.
- Hit Run Report. Are you above or below 50%?
- Now take a look at this compared to your eCPM over the last 12 months. Press the Edit button then change the date range to last 12 months.
- Run the report again. Has your monthly average eCPM dropped, increased or remained the same? Has your Active View viewability done the same thing?
How can you increase ad viewabilitySo if you are among the half of publishers that have an average viewability below 50% what can you do about it? Well, there are a few little tricks you can use to increase your ad viewable impressions rate and attract some of those high paying ad campaigns back to your site.
Use the best performing ad sizes and ad positionsThe 2 factors that will have the biggest influence on your ad viewability rates are the ad sizes you use and where you put them on the page. So, which sizes should you use to make them more viewable?
Make sidebar ad units stickySticky ads follow users as they scroll down the page. When used correctly they can significantly improve the performance and appearance of ads. Make sure they do not cover or hover over other content though. They should only be sticky where there is no content below them. Most site layouts have the main content body section on the left and a narrower sidebar on the right. If you really want your ads to be interacted with and drive strong eCPMs – you can, of course, put them in amongst the content section on the left. The reality is, that most premium looking sites we work with will not position an ad over there. It’s just too intrusive and annoys too many users. If you feel this way – you have to put some kind of ad unit in the sidebar of the page. These sidebar ads often have poor viewable impressions rate because the user scrolls down through the content on the left without seeing or interacting with the ad unit on the right. A good way to increase interaction and the rate of viewable impression for this ad unit is to make it longer and sticky. Here’s an example of the change we made on one of our publisher’s homepage: This sidebar ad unit used to be a 300x250 and it sat below social buttons on the right. By switching this ad unit to a 300x600 and making it sticky – we achieved a 3% increase in viewability and a 37% increase in eCPM.
Lazy load ad units with poor ad viewabilityLazy loading allows you to delay loading parts of the page that are out of view until the user scrolls down. As well as improving site speed, lazy loading often increases viewability. Only ads that are seen are loaded. We recommend lazy loading below the fold ads which have a poor ad viewable impressions rate. These ads often load without the user ever reaching that part of the page and they are the placements advertisers are trying to exclude from their campaigns. They provide no value to the advertiser as the user never sees the ad. By lazy loading these ads you can increase account average viewability score. This is the impact on the viewability of lazy loading BTF ads on one of our real estate publishers. Viewability went from around 35% to nearly 60% while eCPM for those ad units jumped 80%. We don’t recommend using lazy loading on all units though: it can cut sellable impressions significantly. We recommend only using lazy loading on BTF ad formats with low viewability to drive your account average viewable impression rate.
Monitor your ad viewability to increase earningsAd viewability is a key metric of your ad unit’s performance. A low viewable impression rate can have a direct impact on your eCPMs, which will affect your total revenue. In order to maximise your potential revenue, there are some changes you can implement to your ad inventory to increase viewability of your digital advertising units. If your ad revenue has been affected by poor viewability, making these changes won’t reverse that impact overnight. On the sites we made these changes we measured 30 days before against 30 days after. The bigger impact actually came after this period when advertisers started to recognise that site viewability rate had increased. That’s when you’ll start to see the big CPMs from those top advertisers hitting your site. To find out more about what Publift can do for your publishing business, get in touch with us or explore how we helped our clients grow.
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