Google Deems 54% Of Video Ads Viewable, Notes US Trails Other Countries

Google has released new data that says just over half (54%) of video advertisements across the Web -- excluding YouTube -- were viewable in April 2015. This suggests improvements are being made on the video viewability front, as last month Vindico released data saying 45% of digital video ads were viewable in 2014, up slightly from 43% in 2013.

We’ll have to wait for the year-end data to see if long-term improvements truly are being made, but Google’s data indicates that rates are slowly rising.

For Google’s most precious video hub -- YouTube -- things are already about as good as they can get. Google has reported that 91% of video ads on YouTube (including mobile app views) were viewable last month.



(For the research, Google counted mobile app views for its YouTube data but not for the Web data, a move that inflates YouTube’s viewability numbers and downplays the Web’s. This cherry-picking must be noted, but it does not solely account for the vast different in viewability rates YouTube videos saw compared to all other Web videos.)

Google did, however, conclude that “device matters,” and that “video ads are significantly more viewable on mobile and tablet than on desktop.”

For example, on the mobile and tablet Web -- excluding apps and YouTube -- video viewability rates were 83% and 81% last month, respectively. For YouTube videos watched on mobile devices and tablets (including app data), video viewability rates were at 94% last month. All of these rates are much higher than the 50% you-might-as-well-just-flip-a-coin rates desktop video ads get.

And the ad industry is about to become much more familiar with viewability on mobile devices, thanks to the Media Rating Council (MRC) this week issuing its first guidance for a “mobile viewable” ad impression. The basic standards are the same -- an ad is deemed viewable if 50% of its pixels are in-view for one continuous second for display and two continuous seconds for video -- but the MRC added a new twist to mobile viewability with the concept of the “loaded ad.”

Another interesting note from Google’s report: It reaffirms data recently shared by TubeMogul, a programmatic video ad platform, that says the U.S. is currently trailing other countries when it comes to video viewability. 

TubeMogul’s report showed that the viewability of video ads bought via programmatic exchanges in the U.S. was 34% in Q1 2014. However, in some countries, such as the UK, video viewability was about 50%.

Google’s data backs this up. Video viewability rates in the U.S. last month (54%), per Google’s report, was worse than at least 12 other countries, including Canada (61%), Germany (69%), France (69%), Japan (83%), India (79%), Australia (64%), Brazil (76%), the UK (58%) and others.

Google notes that the main reason video ads weren’t viewable last quarter was because the ads were never even on the screen -- i.e. the consumer was tabbed away, or the ad was auto-playing below-the-fold. This was the case for 76% of non-viewable ads last month. The remaining 24% of non-viewable ads were not viewed because the ads were scrolled away from or abandoned in fewer than two seconds, per Google.

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