Recently, Mediative collected data from an online survey and an in-lab eye-tracking study on ad viewability and engagement, presented by Rebecca Maynes, Manager, Content Marketing and Research.
"Viewability," says the report, has become a hot topic in digital marketing since 2011, when the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), together with the Association of National Advertisers, and the American Association of Advertising Agencies (collectively called Making Measurement Make Sense or 3MS) presented guiding principles of measurement.
3MS determined that the single most important need in digital advertising was to switch from purchasing served impressions to viewable impressions, though there was a lot of confusion over what was considered a "viewable" impression, says the report. In 2014, Google released a report stating that 56.1% of ads on the internet are not seen, as they appear outside of the "viewable" area of a browser window, and that placing ads above the fold does not guarantee viewability. Google also stated that "roughly 10 percent of domains are delivering viewability rates below 35 percent".
Viewability refers to the opportunity for an ad to be viewed, says the report. The Media Ratings Council (MRC) states that desktop display ads are to be considered viewable if "50% of their pixels are in view for a minimum of one second". The MRC says "it is recognized that an ‘opportunity to see’ the ad exists with a viewable ad impression, which may or may not be the case with a served ad impression". "Viewed," on the other hand, means the ad was actually fixated on by a searcher.
Survey respondents said they were 36% more likely to pay attention to ads across the top of a web page than ads to the side of the web page. However, participants did not spend much time looking at these leaderboard ads. This aligns with findings from a report by Google which states that the most viewable ads on a page are those that are positioned just above the fold, not at the top of the page. The same report stated that the most viewable ad sizes are vertical units (e.g. skyscrapers) as these ads stay on screen longer as users move around a page. Skyscrapers in general were viewed for 82% longer than leaderboards.
Media buyers can be somewhat hesitant to purchase the skyscraper ad, possibly because of its traditionally poor click performance, says the report. In actual fact, the skyscraper ads to the side of the page were viewed almost 5 times longer than the leaderboard ads, despite not receiving the quantity of clicks that the big box ad or leaderboard ads received. There is value in a view, not just a click, says the report.
Ads that were relevant to a task the searcher is currently working on were 80% more likely to be noticed than ads relevant to something the searcher has looked for in the past, and 50% more likely to be noticed than ads relevant to something the searcher might need in the future. Relevancy to current needs and wants is critical:
In all search scenarios, people tended to notice the display ads more when they were researching as opposed to being ready to buy, with 132% more people fixating on ads during a research task, but 86% more clicks occurred on display ads during the tasks with a purchase intent.
For additional information, and access to the complete study in PDF format, please visit here.