Google revealed a disturbing statistic about online advertising recently: More than half of all online display ad impressions—56.1 percent, to be exact—are never seen.
One reason for such low ad visibility is that many Internet users don’t scroll down on web pages, and therefore never see ads on the bottom half of the page, according to an infographic on ad viewability research put together by Google. That said, even a large number of ads “above the fold” on web pages—32 percent—aren’t viewable.
The definition of what advertisers consider a “viewable ad” may not elicit much faith either: A display ad is considered “viewable” when at least 50 percent of its pixels are on the browser screen for the minimum of one second, according to the Media Rating Council.
The revelation that so few online ad impressions are ever seen should be disheartening for companies that spend a lot of money on online ads and assume that people actually see those ads. Small companies can improve their online ad’s visibility, or at least prevent paying for impressions that nobody sees, by doing the following:
Pay only for ads that are seen. Due to growing awareness of low ad viewing, more ad publishing networks are introducing programs that show companies how many of their ad impressions are actually seen. Last summer, for example, Google rolled out Active View reporting for users of its DoubleClick ad platform.
Use vertical ads. Google found that vertical ads get the most viewing because “they stay on screen longer as users move around a page.”
Focus on ad placement. Certain sections of web pages have much higher viewing rates than others. The most high-profile place for ads isn’t at the top of a web page—it’s actually right above the fold (so at the bottom of the screen before people scroll down).
Create eye-catching, engaging ad content. The best way to get people to spend time engaging with your advertising still has a lot to do with what’s in the ad—not where it appears on the page. Read these tips from AdWeek on how to create engaging ad content.
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