5 tips to Improve your ad viewability

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By the end of 2019, advertisers worldwide are expected to spend north of $625 Billion on digital advertising; $25 billion more than last year.

As digital advertising budgets increase, brands are placing greater importance on ad viewability as an evaluation metric for their online campaigns. After all, it makes sense that companies that are spending hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars on digital advertising want to make sure that their ads are at least seen.

Taking that into consideration, publishers should pay more attention to the viewability of the ads that they are serving and aim to improve their ad viewability rate so as not to lose their advertisers.

Following are some recommendations that can help you improve the viewability rate of website or mobile application. But before, let’s start with some definitions.

What is ad viewability?

As a campaign metric, Ad Viewability is a deceivingly hard to define; which is why it took the Media Rating Council 14 pages to explain it. (You can see the MRC’s viewability guidelines here).

However, simply put an ad is considered viewable when 50% of it is in view for at least 1 second for display ads, and 50% is in view and playing for at least 2 seconds in the case of video ads.

That means that although an ad might be served on a web or mobile page, it’s not necessarily going to be considered viewable. (E.g. if only 20% of an ad is visible on the user’s screen, or if the users scroll too fast)


If you want to understand ad viewability standards better, you can try this interactive tool that Google created by clicking here.

Now that you know what ad viewability refers to, here are a couple of proven tips to help you improve the ad viewability of your own website or mobile app.

1 – Make sure your ads are placed above the fold

The average ad viewability rate across all ad formats and ad placements is 50.2%, but that number grows dramatically if you only look at ads that are above the fold.

Above the Fold Ads: Ads that positioned in the upper half of a web page and are visible without scrolling down the page.

Even though you might think that all ads that are positioned in the visible half of a web page will have a viewability rate of a hundred percent,  the number is actually close to 68%.

That is mainly because a large portion of visitors of a web page will bounce, or quickly scroll through the page before leaving.

The 68% viewability rate of above the fold ads is however much larger than the viewability rate of ads that are positioned below the fold (which is around 40%).

So, setting ads on your website or mobile app to be displayed above the fold won’t ensure a 100% viewability rate, but it will help you improve their viewability by 70%.  

2 – Optimize for Mobile

In addition to the placement of your ads, the device in which they are displayed also has an impact on their viewability rate.

According to Google, Display ads that are shown on mobile are viewed 31% more than those shown on a desktop.

Additionally, 63% of users access the internet via their mobile devices. So optimizing your website and content for mobile is a must in 2019!

3 – Pick the right size for your ads

Date from Google shows that there is a significant variance in terms of the viewability rate of the different ad formats and sizes.

The best performing video ad size (95% viewability rate), for example, is 2560 x 1440 while the best-performing display ad size is 375 x 50 (94% viewability rate).

After analyzing the performance data of different ad sizes, here are some things that you need to keep in mind:  

Always opt for horizontal ad formats instead of vertical ones.

When it comes to video ads, the larger your video ad is, the better it’s viewability rate will be.

For display ads, the lower the height of your ad the better it’s viewability rate will be (The height of the best-performing banner is usually below 90px)

4 –  Try sticky ad formats

Sticky ads are video or display ads that have a fixed position on a web or mobile page and cannot be hidden by scrolling up or down.

By using a fixed position, you can minimize the risks of a users scrolling too fast and not seeing an ad; which can positively impact the viewability rate of your website or mobile app.

However, sticky ads may harm the overall experience of your users. You should therefore always make sure that you are not increasing your ad viewability at the expense of your other performance indicators.

5 –  Improve your loading speed

This might come as a shock to you, but slow loading speeds could be hurting your viewability rate.

Slow loading speeds might cause ads to be loaded before the rest of the page, which means that they are considered as served ads that were not viewed.

Additionally, slow loading speeds also increase the bounce rate of a page: 10 seconds load time increase the bounce rate probability by 123%.

To improve your viewability rate, you should then :

  • Maximize your loading speeds to lower your bounce rate.
  • Try lazy loading your ads so that they only get loaded when the user scrolls to them. That way your ads will only be served when they are viewable.