Google's advice for publishers to improve video viewability for ads - Reuters News Agency

Google’s advice for publishers to improve video viewability for ads

Publishers are still grappling with improving video viewability for ads. Google offers 3 rules of thumb to tackle the issue.

By Sahar Amer |  Jul 29, 2019

With video being one of the most popular formats that users are consuming and engaging with content, video viewability should be a key priority for brands and publishers.

What is video viewability?

“Viewability is the measure of whether an ad had an opportunity to be seen, and delivering viewable video ads is valuable to everyone in the advertising ecosystem — users, advertisers, and publishers.”

According to the Media Rating Council (MRC) and the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), video viewability is certified if 50% of a video ad’s pixels appear on-screen for at least 2 seconds. This affirms that the viewer has seen the ad and has had the opportunity to click and engage with it, which drives value for the brand and increases revenue as a result. 

Although there has been some skepticism around ad viewability compromising user experience, Google’s State of Ad Viewability report offers tips for better viewing experiences for users, better results for advertisers, and more demand and revenue for publishers. 

The average viewability for video ads through publisher sites amount to 66.1% (excluding Youtube which totals to 95% viewability globally). Product Marketing Manager for Google Ad Manager, Jamie Jordan, states that increasing the viewability of video ads from 50% to 90% can result in more than 80% revenue uplift”. 

Google’s 3 P’s of viewability:


1. Premium experience

It’s important to make the video viewing experience the best it possibly can be for the user. This means integrating ads that captivate, load quickly and increase viewer intent. Google advises publishers to create a dedicated page through the site or app where videos are streamed so content is simple to find. Making sure videos load quickly ensures users don’t leave before the video starts playing. Google suggests using Pagespeed Insights to reduce latency for websites and using their AMP format for a fast, user-first experience on mobile. Also, using ads that viewers take interest in can improve viewability – content such as games, arts & entertainment, and shopping are the more popular categories. For example, Al Jazeera’s watch live page contains a full video that automatically plays an entertainment ad before the live video is streamed.

Screenshot Al Jazeera Live website

2. Placement

Placing a video in the optimal space on the website or app is key to increasing the probability of users watching the content. According to Google, the top centre of the screen is the best place to position the video as it’s the main space where users spend most of their time. 

“While 73% of video ads above the fold are viewable, 45% of video ads below the fold are viewable”

Along with placing the video correctly, publishers should also only set autoplay in the video is in the viewport, otherwise keep it on set-to-play.

3. Player

The video player size plays a big part in increasing viewability for users. Make the video the primary focus of the page – the bigger it is the better quality it will be and the more views it will get which means ads are more likely to be seen. 

“A 2560 x 1440 video player has a 95% viewability rate on average whereas a 854 x 480 player size has an 88% viewability rate”.

Google also suggests using autoplay and click-to-play in the correct way. It determines how smoothly and efficiently the app or website runs which creates a better experience for the user and native ad viewing. 

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