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Ad Viewability: What It Means and How To Improve This to Maximize Site Revenue

Ad Viewability: What It Means and How To Improve This to Maximize Site Revenue

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In the ever-evolving world of online advertising, ad viewability has emerged as a crucial metric that can significantly impact the success of both publishers and advertisers. But what exactly does this mean? In this blog, we will dive into the fundamental concepts of ads/ad viewability, explore its metrics and implications, and discuss its importance within the advertising landscape. Moreover, we will see how Ezoic’s technology can help boost ad viewability for you through its foundational optimization processes. 

Three States of An Ad

In digital advertising, understanding the three fundamental states of an ad—loaded, seen, and clicked—is essential for comprehending ad viewability and its impact on campaign success.

  1. Loaded: The “loaded” state occurs when an ad is successfully delivered to a webpage, irrespective of whether it appears in the user’s viewport. Advertisers pay for ad impressions based on this stage, making it a crucial starting point for ad viewability measurement. However, merely loading an ad does not guarantee that it will be seen or engage users effectively.

(image from Newage)

2. Seen: An ad enters the “seen” state when it meets the viewability standards set by industry guidelines. Achieving this state ensures that the ad has a fair chance of being noticed and absorbed by users, enhancing the likelihood of driving desired actions and brand awareness.

3. Clicked: The ultimate goal for advertisers is to transition an ad from the “seen” state to the “clicked” state. A click signifies that a user has interacted with the ad, either by clicking on it or taking another specified action (e.g. purchasing a product/service). This action demonstrates a high level of user engagement and validates the ad’s effectiveness, as it successfully captured the audience’s attention.

The importance of these states lies in their direct correlation with ad viewability. An ad that never reaches the “seen” state, or worse, the “clicked” state, despite being loaded, indicates poor viewability and could result in wasted ad spend. By focusing on enhancing viewability metrics, publishers and advertisers can improve overall campaign performance, optimize their ROI, and provide users with a more meaningful and engaging ad experience.

What is Ad Viewability?

Ad viewability refers to the extent to which an ad is visible to website visitors. To be considered “viewable,” an ad typically needs to meet specific industry standards, such as the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and Media Rating Council’s (MRC) guidelines. According to MRC, a display ad is viewable if at least 50% of its pixels are visible on the screen for at least one second. For video ads, the standard is 50% of pixels visible for at least two continuous seconds.

(image from OKO Ad Management)

Generally speaking, a viewability percentage of 70% or higher perform better than ads below that threshold (Advertising.Amazon). That 70%+ threshold is what’s considered a solid ad viewability metric to ensure you are optimizing your pages for your readers and for advertisers.

What About Attention Metrics?

Attention Metrics, on the other hand, is a relatively new concept that is comprised of more general terms for what advertisers love and are looking for. They complement ad viewability by measuring user engagement with the ad content. Metrics like average time spent on the ad, hover rate, cost-per-conversion, and scroll rate give valuable insights into how users interact with the ads. Attention Metrics reveal the effectiveness of an ad in capturing and maintaining user attention, thus enhancing the overall ad experience. 

What Metrics Are Influenced or Should You Consider When Thinking About Ad Viewability? 

Several metrics influence ad viewability, including (but not limited to): 

a) Above-the-fold placement: Ads placed higher on a webpage tend to have higher viewability rates. 

b) Page loading times: Slow-loading pages can negatively impact ad viewability as users may leave before the ad loads. 

c) Ad clutter: Pages with excessive ads are more likely to have lower viewability rates. 

d) Ad size and format: Larger ad formats often have better viewability rates.

Ad viewability can even vary significantly depending on things like blog type, page length, and the types of advertisers bidding on a site. Consider the following examples:

Example 1: News Blog 

A news blog with a fast-paced layout and numerous articles per page might experience lower ad viewability. Due to the high volume of content, ads could be pushed down the page, reducing their chances of being seen without significant scrolling. Publishers of such blogs could optimize viewability by placing ads in prominent positions, like within the first few paragraphs or above the fold.

Example 2: Short Articles 

A website featuring short articles, like listicles or brief news summaries, may have lower ad viewability. Users tend to consume such content quickly, potentially missing ads that are placed lower on the page. In this case, strategic ad placement and attention to the design can help improve viewability.

Example 3: Performance Advertisers

Performance advertisers focus on achieving specific actions, such as clicks or conversions. While viewability is still important to them, they might be more interested in optimizing for ad clicks rather than just impressions. As a result, they may bid on ad spaces that historically demonstrate a higher click-through rate, which could lead to different ad placement strategies.

Why Should Publishers and Advertisers Care About Ad Viewability?

Understanding the importance of viewability is crucial for publishers due to three major considerations. Firstly, high viewability enhances ad performance by boosting engagement, click-through rates, and conversions. Secondly, viewable ads build credibility and trust between advertisers, publishers, and audiences, creating meaningful impressions. Thirdly, maximizing ROI becomes possible when ads are viewed by real users, ensuring valuable ad spend. Lastly, viewable ads contribute to an improved user experience, reducing ad fatigue and the need for ad blockers.

(image from MeisterMedia)

How Does Ezoic Help Improve Ad Viewability?

Luckily for Ezoic publishers, our system is already optimizing for ad viewability in several ways. Our machine learning helps to optimize ad placements, sizes, and formats dynamically – it’s all about placing ads intentionally. Through automated A/B testing, Ezoic ensures that ads are positioned strategically to maximize viewability without compromising user experience. Additionally, Ezoic is implementing the lazy loading of ads which helps improve ad viewability by ensuring that ads are only loaded when they are about to come into the user’s viewable area, reducing unnecessary ad impressions and maximizing the chances of the ad being seen. Lastly, Attention Metrics are incorporated into Ezoic’s platform, enabling publishers to gain valuable insights into user engagement with ads. By continuously refining ad delivery based on real-time data, Ezoic helps boost ad viewability, resulting in increased revenue for publishers.


Ad viewability has become a key factor in the digital advertising ecosystem. It directly impacts the success of both publishers and advertisers by enhancing ad performance and user experience. By leveraging Ezoic’s innovative technology and attention to metrics, publishers can know that their ad placements are optimized. In turn, advertisers benefit from increased brand exposure and more meaningful interactions with their target audiences. In this symbiotic relationship, Ezoic plays a pivotal role in driving the success of both publishers and advertisers in the competitive online advertising space.

Alyssa is a marketing expert with multiple years of experience assisting high-profile clients to improve their sites' revenue and performance. An MBA graduate from St. Mary's College of California, she now works on developing and marketing Ezoic products.

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