Viewability improves for video, but is down for display ads

Average viewability for display improved just 0.6% during 2017 to an average 50%, according to a new report from the World Federation fo Advertisers(WFA). Meanwhile, viewability on video averaged 60% and improved 4 percentage points compared to 2016. However, at least four out of 10 impressions remain unviewed according to the latest findings.

The increase in video is largely driven by momentum as well as a focus on sharper, shorter and more effective content strategies.

The Global Viewability Benchmark report also noted that Norway was leading in terms of viewability at an increase of 16 percentage points.

Overall display viewability was highest in Sweden (52%), but worst in Russia at 32%. Video viewability performance was best in Austria at 72% of videos seen and worst in Indonesia (35%).

The WFA defines viewability by the Media Rating Council (MRC) definition, which means that 50% of a surface area has to be viewed for at least one second and two seconds for video.

Although the report does not include tracking of social media accounts, Matt Green, Global Lead, Media & Digital at WFA said:

“Viewability is expected to be lower in newsfeed environments, linked to the speed users scroll through content, so a true census of the market would probably find lower global viewability levels than those identified by the WFA’s data. Independent, third party measurement is critically important to advertisers and we encourage all platforms to accept third-party scripts and to adopt industry standards.”

The WFA has been working to improve viewability standards across Europe by partnering with IAB Europe, EACA, JICWEBS in the UK, AGOF in Germany and Digital Ad Trust in France.

“Global viewability levels associated with the MRC’s definition of 50% of surface area are not advancing particularly fast but we expect this to change as more global marketers and national advertiser associations specify a higher basic viewability threshold. Ultimately, brands should be able to trade on whatever viewability level delivers the required outcome at the right cost,” added Green.

However, one of the core challenges in the industry is that verification companies are using different measures to rate viewability producing often conflicting results. For example, Australia is among the worst markets for display with the lowest viewability rate being 26%, however the highest was 88%.

“A divergence between vendors for viewability does not mean that one is right and one wrong but is a reflection of the fact that each company is working with a different set of clients, each deploying its own choice of formats and placements. However, it’s worth drawing attention to the fact that there are still variances in technique and technology provided by verification companies. Marketers need to assess the way viewability companies measure, paying particular attention to how this works in mobile and in-app environments,” Green concluded.