February 24, 2016

Above The Fold and Relevancy Optimizes Viewability

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.

Key Findings
  • Viewability: 76% of ads were served in a "viewable" position as defined by the Media Ratings Council
  • Click: 1.2% of all ads that were served were clicked. 7.7% of all ads that were viewed were clicked
  • Viewed: 16.6% of the ads that were served were viewed; 50% more ads were viewed above the fold compared to below the fold
  • Ads above the fold were viewed for 87% longer: Above the fold big box ads were viewed 2.7x faster than those below the fold and captured 9.7x more clicks than the below the fold big box ads. 13x more people viewed ads than clicked on them, and ads were viewed on average of 1.9 times each
  • Brand name: The advertiser being a recognized name, or a business the searcher has dealt with in the past, is over 28% more likely to influence searchers than it simply being a local business
  • Multiple ad exposures: Ads that are shown several times increase in engagement the more times the ads are shown. The average number of clicks increased by 162% between one exposure and two, and by 39% between two exposures and three
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:
  • Relevant leaderboards captured 8.4x more clicks and 21% more people viewed them compared to irrelevant leaderboard ads.
  • Compared to an irrelevant skyscraper, a relevant skyscraper ad was viewed 5.6x longer and received 1.7 times as many clicks.
  • A relevant big box ad on average was viewed for 36% longer than an irrelevant big box and received 3x as many clicks as an irrelevant big box.
  • Ads relevant to the search query were viewed, on average, for 67% longer than irrelevant ads.
  • Relevant ads were visited on average 2.59 times per visitor per page, vs. only 1.6 times for irrelevant ads.
  • Relevant ads received 5.7x more clicks than the irrelevant ads.
  • The ad that was noticed the most was a big box ad, relevant to the search (research), and above the fold. It was fixated on by 69% of participants.
  • The ad that got the most clicks was a big box ad, relevant to the search (purchase), and above the fold. It was clicked on by 10.3% of participants.
  • The ad that was viewed for the longest was a skyscraper ad, relevant to the search (research), and above the fold. It was viewed for 2.38 seconds on average.
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.

Copyright 2016 MediaPost Communications. All rights reserved. From http://www.mediapost.com. By Jack Loechner.

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