When a tree falls in the woods, and nobody hears it, does it make any sound? If a video ad is displayed and nobody watches it, was an ad played? Ad viewability has been discussed since the start of online advertising, but has only become widely discussed over the past few years. The popularity and importance of the subject goes hand in hand with the maturing of the digital ad landscape.
For publishers interested in video, ensuring quality placement and content means that advertisers are more likely to reach their KPIs, which ultimately leads to higher revenue. So, the equation is simple. Better viewability equals higher revenue. In fact, according to Primis research, a 20% increase in viewability could increase CPM of the unit by up to 25%.
Viewability Definitions and Benchmarks
When it comes to video viewability, it can be difficult to strike the right balance between making more money and optimizing user experience. Regarding video, by paying close attention to viewability, you can achieve one without hurting the other.
First, let’s dig into the most important terms, which have had different iterations over the years, resulting in the one provided by today’s standard in the industry, the joint MRC and IAB guidelines:
- Display Viewability– at least 50% of its pixels must be in view for at least one second
- Video Viewability– at least 50% of the player pixels must be in view for at least two seconds
The industry is still learning to adapt to this critical metric. According to Google’s research, today’s video ad viewability is standing at just 66%.
Advertisers look to have a positive impact on the user and achieve other KPIs besides video ad viewability. Therefore, advertisers are also putting a lot of focus on the VTR (View Through Rate) to understand how much of the ad has been watched and how many of them have been completed.
Now that we have a good grasp of what viewability is and its importance to advertisers, here are the top 3 things to consider to get your video viewability rates up, and thereby increase your revenue.
How to Increase Video Viewability
First and foremost, understand your users. Learn to know how they behave on your specific site. Focus on which pages and sections they are staying longer and, more specifically, which part on the page is attracting the most engagement.
After you have studied your user base, consider the following tips in order to increase your video viewability.
How Content Affects Viewability
While you are in the mind of your audience, think about what kind of content they might find interesting. If you have an idea for a video, think about whether your target persona would be happy to watch it. If the answer is yes, then go ahead and use it.
Showing each user the right content is crucial. No one knows your users better than you, the publisher. An unhappy or simply unengaged user is a problem, so concentrate on what they are meant to see. That doesn’t just mean the quality of the video, but also the right video content to the right user.
Showing relevant and engaging content will automatically increase your video ad viewability.
Video Placement on Page
Finding the best placement on the page for a video unit can be tricky. Whether to place it above-the-fold, below-the-fold or inside the content page and whether it should be the same for both Desktop and Mobile are case by case decisions. There’s no definitive answer for this, and you should always continue testing different positions on the page and different features until you find the optimal placement. Keep in mind, you will most probably need to run different video designs and formats on different sections of your site.
The most important aspects to consider for video placement optimization are Player Size and Viewability Duration.
- Size Does Matter – As you keep enlarging the size of the video unit, advertisers will simply be happy to bid higher CPMs on the inventory. According to our research, increasing a player’s size improves the viewability rate by approximately 15%, which can lead to an estimated 25% increase in CPM.
- Viewability Duration – In order to create enough viewable ad opportunities and to keep a high VTR of the ad impressions you should make sure that the unit is viewable and in front of the user for as long as possible.
As of now, the most common method for increasing viewability duration is the collapsing player. When the user scrolls down, the unit sticks with him and follows all the way down the page. Even YouTube has recently added this feature to both their site and app.
Technology for Video Viewability
Using the right technology is key to keeping a quality viewability rate. Choosing the right video provider and supporting the most updated technology is essential. The right video provider will be able to identify when the user is there and if the user is actually in-front or in-view of the player.
So, no need to use lazy loading. A player with a quick loading time should directly impact the performance, not only of your video monetization, but across all ad units on the page, including display. Also, having a responsive player is important for being able to fit the video natively whether it’s only mobile or desktop.
Taking Video Viewability to the Next Level
Now that you know what viewability is, why it’s so important for your website and how you can make it work for you, it’s time to start putting it into action. Before you consider all of the tips and advice listed above, don’t lose sight of the most important goal, keeping user experience as the top priority. No trick or gimmick, no matter how effective in the short term, can replace the long lasting impact of providing great, relevant content to your site’s visitors.