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Published September 2017

In 2017, YouTube ad viewability continued to lead the industry. The average viewability of YouTube ads globally increased to 95% in 2017, up from 93% in 2016. Across the rest of the web and apps, average video ad viewability is 66%. For all video ads, mobile and tablet continue to offer the highest viewability rates. However, video ad viewability rates remain inconsistent across countries.

Viewability is a key currency in digital advertising that measures whether or not an ad had a chance to be seen by a user. At Google, we support the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and Media Rating Council (MRC) definition of viewability for video advertising: a minimum of 50% of the ad is in view for a minimum of two continuous seconds. For example, if a video ad is playing but the user is browsing on another tab, that impression wouldn’t be considered viewable.

We conducted research using our Active View measurement technology to better understand the current state of video ad viewability around the world. The data used in this study is based on video ads from our advertising platforms, including Google, DoubleClick, and YouTube, from May of 2017.

We analyzed video viewability data for YouTube, including video ads in browsers (desktop, mobile, and tablet) and in the YouTube mobile app. We also looked at video viewability data for the rest of the web and apps (not YouTube), including video ads in browsers (desktop, mobile, and tablet) and apps.

Read on to see how video ad viewability rates compare across devices and around the world.

State of viewability for video ads in 2017

For the past few years, we’ve taken a detailed look at the state of video ad viewability across the industry. In our 2017 analysis, we found that video ad viewability continued to improve on YouTube, but remains flat across the rest of the web and apps.

Data points:

Mobile and tablet offer the highest viewability

Desktop video viewability continues to lag behind mobile and tablet in 2017.

Video ad viewability rates vary by country

Viewability rates in different countries around the world reveal mixed results. In 2017, we found that global viewability rates on YouTube stayed consistently high, but varied greatly by country on the rest of the web and apps.

Getting the Active View of viewability

Activating viewability measurement is the first step to improve ad viewability. Once publishers enable viewability measurement on their content platform, advertisers can measure the viewability rate of the ads they run on that publisher’s content.

We offer a suite of viewability metrics to content owners and media buyers using Active View, Google’s viewability measurement technology. Active View works seamlessly across video and display ads on the web and in apps.

Active View gives advertisers, agencies and publishers custom metrics that help them go beyond transacting on the MRC-defined industry standard for viewability. Advanced viewability and audibility metrics in Active View — such as average viewable time, the length of time an ad is 100% in view or whether the ad could be heard — allow marketers to measure individual objectives on inventory bought across exchanges and YouTube.

For advertisers

Know whether your ads were seen

Active View viewability reporting in AdWords, DoubleClick Campaign Manager and DoubleClick Bid Manager allows advertisers to determine if an ad is viewable by potential customers. Active View metrics can be used for display and video ads, including YouTube, to better understand how often your ad appears in a position on a webpage, device or app that people can see. Along with Active View, advertisers can also choose from third-party vendors for viewability reporting on YouTube, including Moat, Integral Ad Science and DoubleVerify.

Get better viewability and audibility

You can choose to only pay when your ad is able to be seen by potential customers with viewable cost-per-thousand impressions (vCPM) bidding on the Google Display Network and Google video partners in AdWords. This means you're bidding on the actual value of your ad appearing in a viewable position on a given placement.

Active View optimization in DoubleClick Bid Manager uses machine learning to factor in the collective intelligence from many signals (e.g. URL, time of day, page category) to predict, impression by impression, the probability that a particular ad will be viewable. For metrics like audibility and viewability, Active View allows advertisers to optimize towards their specific viewability goals — programmatically and without needing to manually reallocate spend.

For publishers

Get the full picture of your viewability

Several factors impact the chance a video ad is viewed, including the size of the video player and the location on the page. Active View viewability reporting in DoubleClick for Publishers lets publishers monitor how viewability plays out across their properties, on mobile, tablet and desktop. These Active View metrics — like eligible impressions, measureable impressions and viewable impressions — help determine how likely it was that an ad was seen.

Earn more revenue with more viewable impressions

When advertisers are guaranteed viewable impressions, they’re more likely to buy. Publishers can make their inventory more attractive to advertisers and increase their overall ad revenue by applying best practices for improving ad viewability. For example, enabling viewability measurement, using responsive layouts and addressing slow loading pages are all important steps in ensuring the highest viewability rates.

The first step towards driving results

Viewability is crucial, but it’s only the first step in building successful video ad campaigns. While viewability is a measure of whether your ad had a chance to be seen, it doesn’t prove your ad was effective.

Exposure to advertising alone isn’t enough. Your ads must capture attention to have real impact. In addition to viewability, marketers should consider and seek to measure other factors that drive results for brand campaigns. For instance, are your video ads heard as well as seen? Is the viewer paying attention to your ad? And, most importantly, how long do they watch and listen for?

For this reason, audibility measurement is becoming increasingly important. You can measure ad audibility using our Active View technology, where metrics like Audible Play Time in DoubleClick determine how much of the ad was played with audio.

Get the full view of your video ad viewability

The first step to impactful ads is making sure your ads are seen.

If you’re interested in learning more about the opportunities in ad viewability, reach out to your account manager today, or contact our advertiser solutions or publisher solutions team to discuss how we can find the right solution for you.

Google’s Active View measurement technology measures viewability based on the Media Rating Council Viewable Ad Impression Measurement Guidelines and Mobile Viewable Ad Impression Measurement Guidelines. Per the Media Rating Council a video ad is viewable when a minimum of 50% of the ad is in view for a minimum of 2 continuous seconds.
Note - We analyzed two separate sets of data pulled using Google’s Active View measurement technology in May of 2017:

  • Video viewability data for YouTube, including video ads in web browsers (desktop, mobile, and tablet) and mobile in-app ads.
  • Video viewability data for the rest of the web and apps, including video ads in web browsers (desktop, mobile, and tablet) and mobile in-app ads, not including YouTube.

Source: Google and DoubleClick advertising platforms data, May 2017

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