3 Ways To Improve Viewability

March 28, 2016

The IAB published a primer that shares how top brands have increased ad viewability on their sites and explains how other publishers can apply these best practices to their businesses.

Steve Guenther, VP, Digital Auditing Services

Viewability is a topic that has long been debated by both publishers and advertisers. In May 2015 the Media Rating Council (MRC) said in its interim viewable impression guidelines that for a served impression to be deemed viewable, a minimum of 50 percent of the pixels of a display ad must be in view for at least one second and at least two seconds for video ads. Since then the MRC has continued its work on the guidelines, issuing an update on its status this past November.

While the industry tries to come to resolution on how to effectively measure and transact on a viewable impression, premium publishers are trying new ways to deliver viewable content to consumers.


The IAB Primer

Recognizing this push for viewability improvement, the IAB recently published a primer that outlines a range of tactics publishing companies, big and small, have used to increase ad viewability. In turn, the IAB hopes to help publishers overcome the obstacles that diminish the viewability of content, such as display and video ads, and improve the value of that content for marketers and users alike. The primer was developed in accordance with LEAN, another program from the IAB which urges publishers to be mindful of the number, type and viewability of ads per page.

The IAB viewability primer discusses three of the primary levers that influence ad viewability:

  • Site design
  • Latency
  • Ad Tech/Ops strategy & policies.

It also mentions that the importance of publishers creating engaging content is a primary lever as well, but does not address this topic detail.

The sections of the IAB viewability primer

Each section of the primer is centered on one of the four ways to improve viewability:

Overall these sections try to assist publishers in understanding the current state of measurement, viewability rates and latency of the content and ads on their sites, and arm them with the information they need to develop a viewability improvement plan based on these aspects. As a baseline for the plan, the IAB also encourages publishers to establish an ongoing data system — either internal or from a trusted third-party vendor — to be the publisher’s source of truth during this process.

If you’re a premium publisher, I recommend that you read through the new IAB viewability primer.

I also encourage you to check out our latest Q&A series that features interviews with industry leaders about the key challenges facing digital media such as viewability, ad fraud, programmatic buying and ad blocking. In the latest post I touch on the importance of transparency in programmatic environments. Feel free to contact us with any questions about these developments.

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