Viewability is one of the most fundamental properties that define advertising quality; it is measured as actual ad impressions users could see as opposed to all generated advertisements. Put simply, if an ad does not appear on a visitor’s screen (e.g. it is located below the fold of a web page, a user has shut the tab before an ad could be rendered, etc.), it cannot be counted as viewable.

The IAB’s viewability standards for static ads require that a user should be able to see more than 50% of the ad pixels for more than one second. For videos, a viewable ad impression means two seconds and half of the pixels.

In this article, we will explain what makes a good execution of ad viewability on the publishers’ side, how it affects user experience, and what advanced features have been added in MGID widgets.

How to intertwine ads with site content

Some publishers tend to over-optimize their web pages exclusively for viewability, sometimes at cost of user experience. For example, this can be done by implementing certain code modules that prevent users from further scrolling until ads are loaded.

Forced viewable ad formats, such as sticky videos, jumpy pages, or pop-ups, are another example of putting ad impressions first instead of user experience. These ads cannot be skipped but their intrusiveness may cause a sharp negative reaction from the audience. As a result, user engagement with the site content decreases, and as more readers bounce, advertisers’ bids will also fall.

As a rule of thumb, ads should not interrupt a reader’s interaction with the content, but rather extend the process of content consumption. The best way to improve ad viewability without lessening user experience is to implement multivariate testing that also takes into account users’ time on page, bounce rate, page views, engaged time on page, clicks on ads, etc. Ideally, you would also want to use artificial intelligence to analyze historical data on what’s proven to be effective and implement these data-driven optimizations instantaneously.

Lazy loading of MGID widgets

At MGID, we recently added the lazy loading feature on our advertising widgets to improve ad viewability and page performance. In essence, the feature enables the ability to load ads on the fly, when a user scrolls to the place where a widget should be displayed.

Lazy loading helps webpage performance and decreases ad requests to servers as there is no need to load ads if a user may never see it. It also improves user experience within the website because readers receive the requested content faster. Ultimately, the feature will improve the site rankings in Google – the algorithms favor this functionality.

As a result, user engagement on the website also increases, and advertisers bid higher for inventory with a higher likelihood to get viewable ad impressions.

Final thought

Viewability is a crucial aspect of advertising quality that affects ad spend and trust in the entire digital ecosystem. To attract advertisers and maximize revenues, publishers and ad tech vendors should put more effort into making a higher percentage of ads viewable without hurting the user experience.

Lazy loading, the new feature implemented on MGID widgets, not only saves system resources and reduces page weight but also effectively improves ad viewability on our platform. When seeking the right way to intertwine ads with on-page content, publishers also should test multiple approaches and take into account the bounce rate, engaged time on page, and other user engagement metrics together with viewability.