Ads viewability is highly correlated to the publisher’s revenue. Thus, increasing it will help in reaping a better return on investment. The term “ad viewability” simply refers to how visible your ads are to users. It plays a huge role in the performance of your website and your business. Although the concept is relatively new in digital advertising, ads viewability has become a trending topic.

18 Factors: How to Boost Ads Viewability

There are many factors that are in play when it comes to improving the viewability of ads. Whether it’s the placement, size, or quality in general, there are several aspects should take into consideration for creating profitable ads. In this article, I’ll discuss 18 factors for improving your business’s ads viewability and why it’s important.

  1. Ad size – According to a study conducted by Think with Google, the size of your ads matters for viewability. The study showed that vertical units are the most viewable among all ad sizes. 120 x 240 ad units had the highest visibility at 55.6%. Among horizontal ads, 234 x 60 ad units had the highest viewability rank at 51.4%. It is also important to note that larger ads unit have high click rates but it does not mean that it has higher viewability.

    Best performing ads unit size                                                                                                                Source: Google Support

  1. Ideal viewability – It’s impossible to achieve 100% viewability rates. Keep your goals realistic and remember that average publisher ads viewability is at 50.2%. Publishers can achieve average viewability by aiming for more than 50% viewability. This should help you in getting more returns on your investments.
  1. Page positioning – The same study found that ads positioned right above the fold are the most viewable. Those positioned at the top of the page are not as viewable. Pick a smart position that fits the website design and attracts attention.
  1. Above the fold isn’t always viewable – At the same time, ads positioned above the fold aren’t always viewable. Such ads had a median viewability of 68%, whereas below-the-fold ad units had a median viewability of 40%.
  1. Most display ads aren’t see – ComScore has shown that 54% of display ads aren’t seen despite the fact that advertisers pay good money for them. This result is one of the main reasons why Internet marketers directed their focus on ads viewability.
  1. Premium publishers have higher average in-view rates – According to ComScore, premium sites are those with a monthly ad revenue of USD $100,000 and an average CPM of $5. The median in-view rate of these premium sites was at 53%, which is much higher than that of ad networks and exchanges at 31%.

    ad-viewability-by-placement-type_reference

  1. Page length – According to Google, shorter content has higher viewability. Users will be able to consume content more easily if your pages have only a single fold. Enabling infinite scroll is a good solution if you need to post longer content. Lazy loading is also effective in improving your ads viewability.

    shorter content high viewability

  1. Higher latency harms viewability – One of the major causes of latency is passbacks.These should be reduced in order to increase the viewability of your ads.
  1. Viewability varies by industry – There are significant variations in viewability across different industries. Sites with more captive engagement have the highest viewability. Reference sites ranked the highest with 51.9% viewability, followed by online communities at 48.9%.

    ads viewability as per industry

  1. Design responsiveness – You can create a good user experience by building responsive ads. Responsiveness ensures that ads will adapt to the browser and device used for viewing those ads. This move can help you improve ads viewability and your business’s revenue.
  1. Page design – One of the most basic factors that plays a role in your ad viewability is the page design. Following a good design principle can help you significantly gain better viewability. Prioritize symmetry, clean design, and clear visual hierarchy in pleasing proportions.
  1. Load speed – Webites filled with ads from various ad networks are naturally associated with a high load time. This can lower your ads viewability because users tend to click away before the ads even load. Focus on speeding up your page and ad load times to improve viewability.
  1. Sidebar content – Mobile-responsive templates are a great way to improve user experience and increase viewability. However, be aware of how your sidebar content is presented in such templates. The ad might no longer be visible when the user amplifies the content. Ensure optimum visibility of the sidebar content even when users zoom in on your page.
  1. View time – The Internet Advertising Bureau says that for an ad to be considered viewable, at least 50% of the pixels should be in the viewable portion of the browser for over one second. This makes it crucial to design and position your ads in such a way that users can view them for at least a few seconds. For large canvas ad formats (at or in excess of 242,500 pixels and equivalent to the size of a 970 x 250 pixel display ad), the guidelines state that 30% of pixels must be in the view for a minimum of one continuous second to qualify as viewable.
  1. Measuring your performance – To see how you’re currently performing in terms of ads viewability, you need to closely track each metrics. I suggest using third party software to measure and validate the viewability of your ads. Even if you are using Publisher ads or Networks or Real-time-bidding ads then RTB ads has the least viewability, so  take the necessary steps to make improvements where you need to increase ads viewability.

    ad viewability by platform

  1. Keeping it minimal – Don’t overdo it. For most users, intrusive ads and pop-ups are annoying because they force them to see the content. Avoid filling your page with ad after ad even if you want to be seen. The key is to get noticed without trying too hard.
  1. iFrames aren’t transparent enough – Cross-domain iFrames restrict access to crucial information, including coordinates, URLs, and text. For this reason, they can cause problems in measuring ad viewability. Avoid them whenever possible.
  1. Good content quality – If you fill your page with content that attracts users, you have a much better chance of improving your ads viewability. The content around your ad unit needs to be fresh, original, and engaging to improve user experience.

Best Practices for Ads Viewability

All the factors I’ve highlighted above are crucial if you wish to gain better ads viewability. Here are a few useful tips on how you can follow the best practices for improving the viewability of your ads:

  • Make the most of the space above the fold of your website. You now know that ads placed in this area get the most visibility, so focus on optimizing this space. Inspect each of the page elements to see how you can make improvements. You could make the masthead a bit thinner or reduce the space taken up by your videos.
  • A fixed ad position has become highly popular with advertisers and it’s a great way to improve ad viewability. These are also known as sticky or adhesive ads. Have your ads stay at a fixed position even as the user scrolls. This should help you get a higher view time and increase your viewability rate to a significant extent.
  • You probably already know that users are more inclined to pause on specific types of content. These may include photos, videos, exciting offers, and promos. They’re known as “slow content.” Since users take time to pause and view this type of content, try placing your ads near them for longer views.
  • Withhold loading your ads until they scroll into view. This is known as lazy loading. Using this practice can improve your ad viewability score and page load time greatly. Lazy loading is quite similar to the popular infinite page technique that has been used for years.
  • Experiment with various ad sizes and see which works best for you. Although I’ve mentioned that vertical ad sizes of 120 x 240 ad units perform the best across various websites, you may want to see which size suits your ads best. Select the top-performing sizes and conduct tests to measure how your viewability improves with each size.
  • Continue making improvements on your page design to reduce page load time. This will not only help you gain better ad viewability, but also perform better across every aspect. Whether it’s with user experience or conversion rates, a faster load time can boost your overall performance.

Have any other ideas to improve ads viewability? Enter the discussion in the comments section below!

Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant who specializes in sales funnels, targeted traffic, and website conversions. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.