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    Why High Viewability Doesn't Equal High Conversions

    Posted by Precision Reach Team on Jul 27, 2020


    Viewability Explained

    Viewability is a buzzword that surfaces continuously in the ad tech industry, and with so many different players in the space, it can be a convoluted topic to discuss. Even the IAB’s viewability definition leaves marketers in disagreement, with more than 4 in 10 respondents admitting the industry could do better in explaining what it is.

    If you are not familiar with IAB’s definition of viewability, we have broken it down. An ad is deemed viewable if:

    • At least 50% of the display ad is in view for 1 second, or
    • At least 50% of the video ad is in view for 2 consecutive seconds

    This is a key metric that advertisers use to quantify the percentage of ads that are viewed by an audience. As such, viewability is an important KPI for brands because there is a direct relationship between having ads that are highly viewable, and directing the right users to the product or service that you’re advertising. As a result, viewability is often the top priority for advertisers when it comes to ensuring that ad dollars go as far as they can, not to mention attaining campaign goals from the very beginning.

    For video, it’s important to differentiate between viewability and video viewing. Viewability by this definition means the video ad is shown, however does not necessarily mean the video was watched from beginning to end. A video might be viewable by the IAB’s standards, but the user does not actually watch the entire ad, if at all.

    In conjunction with the IAB, The Media Ratings Council (MRC) has compiled a list of viewable impression ad measurement guidelines to help advertisers decipher viewability for themselves.

    At Precision Reach, using data-driven programmatic advertising to reach demo-qualified farmers on websites they visit, the Average View Rate for a display banner campaign is 73% based on 1,500+ campaigns run the past 2 years. Many campaigns exceed 80% viewability when the primary KPI is awareness and the creative set includes the full array of standard banner sizes: 300x600, 970x250, 300x250, 728x90, 160x500 and 320x50.

    What does viewability do for your campaign?

    Viewability does not guarantee increased ad performance but viewability and performance are linked. For example, studies have shown that how long an ad is continuously visible has a higher impact on performance than the percentage of the ad viewed.

    However, not all advertisers are demanding 100% viewability; some advertisers report desirable performance results – such as click through rates (CTR) – are coming from inventory with only 60% viewability. In direct response (DR) campaigns, KPIs are independent of viewability, measuring conversions over impressions, using a Cost Per Click (CPC) or Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) pricing model. But CTR or conversions are not useful metrics when the campaign goal is to drive awareness.

    Myth: High Viewability Yields High Conversion


    Players in the ad tech industry such as Integral Ad Science, comScore, and the Interactive Advertising Bureau are all working toward understanding viewability, setting standards and guidelines. But discrepancies in counting methodologies still exist — both in the final numbers and in the methods themselves.

    Does a 70% view rate mean 30% of your ad impressions are wasted?

    No, just because a platform report says x% impressions was viewable, does not mean the other impressions were not seen by a viewer. Some impressions are simply unmeasurable or unclassified.

    Grasping the concept of viewable ads, figuring out how to capture viewable impressions and measure the results is becoming an increasingly daunting task for advertisers and publishers, as more players enter the space. DSPs, Ad Exchanges and 3rd-party providers are also accountable to provide information where possible.

    Key takeaways

    Viewability is a key metric for advertisers to optimize brand awareness, reach and frequency. It is not a guarantee for a high click rate or a strong conversion metric.

    With programmatic display advertising, be sure to include the full set of banner sizes and utilize best ad practices. Ask for weekly or biweekly metric reporting that includes the campaign overall view rate.

    For more insights on viewability and other digital metrics, email Sales@PrecisionReach.com or call Bob Schenck @ 847-778-1886