Google Reports That 56% of Your Ads Aren’t Seen


by Mike Dickman

I just heard this startling figure at a marketing conference this week and could hardly believe it. So, I had to do some research and share what I had found.

It appears that Google let the cat out of the bag last December (2014) when disclosing factors that impact ad viewability. The actual number is 56.1%, not that the extra tenth of one percent makes a difference!

And, it’s not like Google tried to hide this stat. They actually published an Infographic about it! (http://bit.ly/1HmIqOi) In this Inforgraph, Google pointed to factors such as: State of publisher viewability, Page position, Ad size, Above/below the fold and Viewability across industries.

In 2012, ComScore released data that 31% of display ads weren’t seen. This data was based on a study of 1.7 billion impressions from 18 campaigns be a dozen brands. In 2013, ComScore released another study finding that 54% of display ads aren’t seen. Why the big difference? One of the points that stood out was the difference in viewability between premium publishers and ad exchanges and networks.

comscore ad viewability by premium vs networks and exchanges

During the marketing conference other factors were discussed, such as: bots that make it appear as if there were human eyes looking at the ads when it was really nothing more than some fabricated tool to increase impressions; unethical groups hiring offshore labor to simply click ads all day long.

So, what is being done? Google, actually, is suggesting that viewable impressions should be the new standard. Their viewability measurement tool, Active View, is integrated into both the Google Display Network and DoubleClick. Advertisers can monitor viewability rates and buy ads on a viewable impression basis rather than served impressions.

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