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Viewability and Active View

We’re working to incorporate Active View metrics across our ad products to provide our partners the information that they need to understand the viewability of their sites. This article will help you understand what viewable impressions are, what they mean for your site and provide some suggestions to improve the number of viewable impressions that your site generates.

What is a viewable impression and viewability?

Active View is Google’s ad viewability measurement solution. It tracks the viewability of ads served by AdSense: that is, the percentage of ads that are considered viewable out of the total number of ads measured.

An impression is considered a viewable impression when it has appeared within a user’s browser and had the opportunity to be seen. We define a viewable impression as an ad that meets the following criteria: 50% of the ad’s pixels need to be on screen for at least one continuous second. Active View reporting provides measurement data to inform publishers of the number of viewable impressions that their site generated. Publishers can use this data to understand and enhance their site’s viewability. 

Why is viewability important to me?

Viewability data can help publishers increase the long-term value of their display inventory. Advertisers can see the viewability of specific ad units and make bidding decisions based on their viewability rates. Advertisers are increasingly asking to buy viewable impressions, and publishers with the most viewable inventory will be in the best position to earn more revenue from this trend. Maximising the number of viewable impressions on your site will make additional inventory eligible to brand advertisers buying viewable impressions on the Google Display Network

How to improve your ad viewability?

Once you become familiar with viewability statistics, there are three changes that you can make to improve your results:

Create captivating content

Focus on creating captivating content to capture viewers’ attention. This is at the heart of a successful site. We conducted research and found that content categories that are known for holding viewers’ attention – like Games, Arts and Entertainment, and Shopping – tend to have higher viewability, and suggest a higher interest in ads from these content categories.
Find out more in our State of Ad Viewability report. We recommend that you consider these findings when you're creating your own content. 

Use responsive ad units 

Responsive ad units are optimised to maximise ad performance  according to the properties of the screen/device that they're being viewed on. Use responsive ads so that they fit the particular browser used to view those ads. This provides a good user experience, regardless of which device (mobile, tablet or desktop) they select to view your content and ads. Learn more about responsive ads. You can also try to use highly viewable ad units: Auto Ads formats Vignette and Anchor. 

Change ad positions

Rethinking the position of your AdSense ad units can also help improve your viewability rates. Place ads where they have a high opportunity to be seen.
Firstly, identify where viewers spend time on your site and place ads in those sections.
The most viewable ad position is actually right above the fold, not at the top of the page, so take time to really understand your user behaviour. Don’t rule out below-the-fold ads as well. 47% of display ads are viewable below the fold.
Secondly, consider identifying where viewers are spending their time on certain pages and placing ad units in those locations.
To test this, you can also try moving ad units higher on your page to understand if the viewability rate changes. Please note that changes on an individual ad unit basis may overall be negative if those changes impact the other ad units on the page. Experiment carefully with what works best on your site.
Paying close attention to your Active View numbers will help you bring your visitors the targeted ads that you want them to see and remove the uncertainty around unviewable ads. You can check viewability best practices for more information. 

Learn more about Active View and Viewability

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