Programmatic Media Buying 101: What is Viewability?

Programmatic Media Buying 101: What is Viewability?

What Does Viewability Mean for Programmatic Advertisers?

A Viewable Impression is defined as an advertising impression that has appeared within a user’s browser and has had the opportunity to be seen. As it’s evolved, viewability has played an increasingly important role in programmatic. This is due to the fact that more than half of the online ads which are never seen, especially online video ads.

impression inventory viewability

How Does Viewability Work?

Much of what is and isn’t considered viewable is decided by the MRC, the Media Rating Council.

Desktop display is considered viewable if 50% of the pixels are in view for a minimum of a second. Larger desktop ads are considered viewable if just 30% of pixels are in view for 1 second. On the other hand, the standard for desktop video is that 50% of the pixels have to be in view for a minimum of 2 seconds.

The parameters for measuring viewable impressions in mobile web and mobile in-app environments are similar to those in desktop environments. A mobile viewable impression requires a minimum of 50% of pixels in view for one consecutive second for display and two for video. These time requirements apply equally to mobile newsfeed and non-newsfeed environments. Satisfying the minimum pixel requirement should precede the measurement of the time duration.

Meanwhile, according to the self-regulatory industry body, a mobile ad must render before viewability measurement occurs.

What’s being measured?

Ad verification, a tool or service used to validate the delivery of digital display advertising like Integral Ad Science, serves as a critical line item in many media plans today. It has long been used to vet ad fraud and brand safety and has become a vital tool for assessing viewability — a growing mandate as the industry moves from ad-served to viewable impression standards. These tools are constantly measuring new sites for viewability. A site that is not considered viewable one day might be viewable the next.

On Desktops, these are some of the things that are being measured:programmatic viewability

  • URL Analysis
  • Image Analysis
  • Inbound/Outbound Links
  • Meta Data Analysis
  • Semantic Analysis


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