Viewability is a measure of whether or not an ad had a chance to be seen by a user. It gives marketers the base knowledge that their message was seen by providing metrics around the actual number of times an ad appeared in front of a user.
Active View is Google’s viewable impression measurement technology. It’s our solution for measuring and buying viewable impressions across the web and is accredited by the Media Ratings Council.
It measures in real time, on an impression-by-impression basis, whether or not an ad was viewable to a user. It’s effortless, free, and integrated into all of our advertising platforms. Active View metrics are fully transparent and are based on the direct measurement of each impression without sampling or extrapolating.
If an ad isn’t seen, can it have impact, change perception, or build brand trust? In digital advertising, viewability is the first impression-by-impression measurement of advertising. It gives marketers a clear understanding of campaign and messaging effectiveness and allows advertising spend to be allocated to the most valuable media.
In December 2014, using Google’s Active View technology, we published a set of display viewability benchmarks, where we found that 56% of all display ads had no chance of ever being seen. With a number like that, nothing else we do as advertisers matters.
In 2013, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and Media Ratings Council (MRC) began an 18-month-long industry effort, working with hundreds of major agencies, advertisers, publishers, and technology providers (including Google) to develop a collective industry standard to measure viewable impressions.
On March 31, 2014, the Media Rating Council took the first step toward making viewable impressions a standard by lifting its advisory to refrain from transacting on viewable impressions as a digital advertising currency for display.
At Google, we support the IAB and MRC definition of viewability for display advertising: a minimum of 50 percent of the ad is in view for a minimum of 1 second.
The role of a common currency—from the Gold Standard, to the U.S. dollar, to the humble click—in spurring growth, investment, confidence, and trade is undeniable. That’s why the MRC viewability standard is so important. Without a common measurement method, it will be impossible to determine the true value of a viewed impression; create scale; or optimize, pace, and forecast inventory effectively.
So, what will digital advertising look like when viewable impressions become a currency in the future?
We see viewable impression counts built into ad serving measurement replacing served impressions as the base measurement for all campaigns. Viewabilty rates and discrepancies will no longer be an issue, and instead we’ll only care about the number of measured, viewable impressions.
Advertisers will know how many times a creative was seen, making it easier to understand the true impact of their campaigns. They’ll know which inventory provides the highest value, and they’ll have confidence in the price they pay to deliver their messages. Publishers will have a clear picture of their best-performing inventory and be able to optimize their site’s ad experience, maximizing the amount of viewable inventory on hand.
But the most significant change caused by viewability will be its limiting effect on the seemingly endless supply of digital ads. Today this oversupply of inventory is a consequence of the current served impression measurement standard, where there is no limit to the number of ads served on a single page.
The viewable impression currency will refocus digital advertising’s promise of guaranteeing your message is displayed in front of a prospective consumer.
* This page is intended for illustrative purposes only and is not meant as an actual representation of Active View technology.
* The timer is reset if the ad has not already met the viewable criteria, and is more than 50% off screen.
50% in view for ≥1 second