GTM Dictionary

The Go-to-Market Dictionary: Viewability

In this comprehensive guide to go-to-market strategies, we delve into the concept of viewability and how it can impact your marketing efforts.

As advertising moves increasingly to digital platforms, the industry has faced a new set of challenges and opportunities. One of the most fundamental of these is viewability- the measurement of whether an advertisement was actually seen by a website visitor. This article will delve into what viewability is, its impact on the industry, and how it can be effectively measured and improved.

Understanding Viewability

Definition and Importance

Viewability refers to the ability of an advertisement to be seen by a website visitor. In other words, a viewable ad is one that is displayed in a way that proves that it was at least partially visible to the user. A non-viewable ad, on the other hand, may be below the fold or hidden by other content on the page.

Viewability has become an increasingly important metric in the digital advertising industry. With the rise of programmatic advertising and real-time bidding, advertisers want to ensure that their ads are being seen by the right people at the right time. Viewability is also important for publishers, who want to ensure that their ads are being displayed in a way that maximizes their revenue.

The importance of viewability lies in the fact that it is a key metric for both advertisers and publishers. For advertisers, viewability is crucial because it determines the success of their campaigns. An ad that is not seen by the target audience will not lead to sales or other desired outcomes. For publishers, viewability is important because it affects their revenue- advertisements that are not viewable are less valuable to advertisers, leading to lower payouts.

Key Metrics and Benchmarks

Although there is no one definitive definition of viewability, several industry organizations have created guidelines for what constitutes a viewable impression. The Media Rating Council (MRC), for example, defines a viewable impression as one in which at least 50% of the ad's pixels are visible for at least one second.

Industry benchmarks for viewability rates vary depending on the type of ad and the platform it is being displayed on, but generally speaking a rate of 50% or above is considered acceptable. However, some advertisers may set higher standards for viewability, such as requiring that 100% of the ad's pixels are visible for at least one second.

Other metrics that are often used in conjunction with viewability include click-through rates (CTR), engagement rates, and conversion rates. These metrics can help advertisers and publishers determine the effectiveness of their campaigns beyond just viewability.

Industry Standards and Guidelines

Over the past few years, the digital advertising industry has developed a number of standards and guidelines around viewability. These include the MRC's Viewable Impression Measurement Guidelines, as well as the Interactive Advertising Bureau's (IAB) Viewable Impressions Guidelines. These standards aim to ensure that viewable impressions are measured consistently and accurately across the industry.

However, there is still some debate within the industry about what constitutes a viewable impression and how it should be measured. Some argue that the MRC's standard of 50% of the ad's pixels being visible for at least one second is too low, and that advertisers should aim for higher viewability rates. Others argue that viewability is not the most important metric, and that advertisers should focus on other metrics such as engagement and conversion rates.

Despite these debates, viewability remains an important metric for advertisers and publishers alike. As the digital advertising industry continues to evolve, it is likely that standards and guidelines around viewability will continue to be refined and updated.

The Role of Viewability in Advertising

Viewability is a term used in the advertising industry to describe whether or not an ad is actually seen by its intended audience. It is an important metric for both advertisers and publishers, as it can impact the effectiveness of a campaign as well as the revenue generated from ad placements.

Advertiser Benefits

For advertisers, viewability is a crucial way of measuring the effectiveness of their campaigns. By ensuring that their ads are viewable to their target audience, advertisers are able to increase brand awareness, drive engagement, and ultimately achieve their desired outcomes.

Viewability measurement also allows advertisers to optimize their campaigns. By testing and adjusting factors such as ad placement and format, advertisers can determine which approach is most effective in driving viewability and results. This can lead to more efficient use of ad spend and better ROI for advertisers.

Publisher Considerations

Publishers, too, have a stake in viewability. By ensuring that ads on their sites are viewable, publishers can increase their revenue by making their inventory more attractive to advertisers. However, publishers must also balance the need for viewability with user experience.

Overloading a page with ads may lead to a negative user experience, leading to decreased engagement and increased ad-blocker adoption. Publishers must consider the placement and number of ads on their site, as well as the overall user experience, in order to maximize both viewability and revenue.

User Experience and Engagement

Ultimately, viewability is important because it affects user engagement and experience. Ads that are not viewable, or that are intrusive or annoying to users, can lead to a negative experience and decreased engagement with both the ad and the site as a whole.

However, by designing ads that are aesthetically pleasing and relevant to users, publishers and advertisers can increase engagement and create a positive experience for everyone involved. This can lead to increased brand loyalty and better overall results for advertisers, as well as a more enjoyable experience for users.

In conclusion, viewability is a crucial metric in the advertising industry that impacts both advertisers and publishers. By focusing on creating viewable, relevant, and engaging ads, advertisers and publishers can create a positive experience for users while achieving their desired outcomes.

Measuring Viewability

Viewability is a crucial metric in digital advertising, as it measures how visible an ad is to a viewer. In order for an ad to be considered "viewable," at least 50% of its pixels must be visible on the screen for at least one second. This metric helps advertisers and publishers understand how effective their ads are and adjust their strategies accordingly.

Viewability Measurement Tools

There are a number of tools and platforms available for measuring ad viewability, ranging from third-party measurement providers to platform-specific solutions.

Some well-known third-party measurement providers include Moat, Integral Ad Science, and DoubleVerify, each of which offer tools for measuring viewability across various platforms and ad types. These tools can help advertisers and publishers understand how their ads are performing and identify areas for improvement.

Many platforms, such as Google and Facebook, also offer built-in viewability measurement solutions for advertisers and publishers. These solutions can be a convenient and cost-effective way to measure viewability, as they are often integrated into the platform's existing ad serving infrastructure.

Challenges and Limitations

As with any metrics, measuring viewability comes with its own set of challenges and limitations. One of the primary limitations is the fact that viewability does not necessarily equal effectiveness- in other words, a viewable ad may not necessarily lead to desired outcomes.

In addition, measurement discrepancies between different tools and platforms can lead to confusion and inconsistency in reporting. This can make it difficult for advertisers and publishers to accurately measure viewability and make informed decisions about their campaigns.

Finally, measuring viewability accurately requires a significant investment in technology and resources, making it more difficult for smaller publishers and advertisers to participate. This can create a barrier to entry for some businesses, limiting their ability to effectively measure and optimize their ad campaigns.

Best Practices for Accurate Measurement

Despite its challenges, there are several best practices for measuring viewability accurately. These include using multiple measurement partners, testing and adjusting ad formats and placements, and following industry standards and guidelines.

Using multiple measurement partners can help mitigate discrepancies between different tools and platforms, providing a more accurate picture of ad viewability. Testing and adjusting ad formats and placements can also help improve viewability, as certain ad formats may be more effective than others in different contexts.

Finally, following industry standards and guidelines can help ensure that viewability metrics are consistent and comparable across different campaigns. Advertisers and publishers can refer to guidelines such as those set by the Media Rating Council (MRC) to ensure that their viewability measurements are accurate and reliable.

By following these best practices, advertisers and publishers can ensure that their viewability metrics are accurate and their campaigns are optimized for success.

Improving Ad Viewability

Ad viewability is a critical metric for advertisers and publishers alike. After all, if an ad isn't seen by users, it can't drive conversions or generate revenue. Fortunately, there are several strategies that advertisers and publishers can use to improve ad viewability and ensure that their campaigns are as effective as possible.

Ad Placement and Design

One of the most effective ways of improving ad viewability is through smart ad placement and design. By placing ads in prominent locations on the page- such as above the fold or alongside content- advertisers can increase the likelihood that the ad will be seen. Additionally, designing ads that are visually appealing and relevant to the target audience can increase engagement and viewability.

For example, a sports equipment company might design an ad featuring a professional athlete using their products. This ad would likely be more engaging and relevant to sports enthusiasts than a generic ad featuring the company's logo.

It's also important to consider the overall user experience when designing ad placements. Ads that are intrusive or disruptive to the user experience are more likely to be ignored or blocked by users, leading to lower viewability rates. By designing ads that are seamlessly integrated into the user experience, advertisers can increase the likelihood that users will engage with their content.

Optimizing Ad Formats

Another way of improving ad viewability is through optimizing ad formats. For example, video ads tend to be more viewable than display ads, while native ads (which blend in with the surrounding content) tend to be more engaging for users.

By experimenting with different ad formats and analyzing their impact on viewability rates, advertisers and publishers can determine the most effective approach for their campaigns. For example, a fashion retailer might find that video ads featuring models wearing their clothing are more effective than display ads featuring product images.

It's also important to consider the context in which ads are being displayed. For example, ads that are displayed on mobile devices may need to be optimized for smaller screens and shorter attention spans, while ads displayed on desktop devices may have more room for creative and engaging content.

Leveraging Data and Analytics

Finally, leveraging data and analytics can help advertisers and publishers improve ad viewability. By tracking and analyzing data on ad performance- including viewability rates and engagement metrics- advertisers and publishers can make informed decisions about how to optimize their campaigns.

For example, identifying and targeting high-value audiences can increase the likelihood that an ad will be seen and engaged with, leading to higher viewability rates and better campaign results. Additionally, analyzing user behavior and preferences can help advertisers and publishers tailor their ad placements and formats to better meet the needs of their target audience.

Ultimately, improving ad viewability requires a combination of smart design, strategic optimization, and data-driven decision-making. By taking a holistic approach to ad viewability, advertisers and publishers can ensure that their campaigns are as effective as possible, driving engagement and revenue while delivering a positive user experience.


Viewability is a crucial metric for advertisers and publishers alike, impacting everything from campaign success to revenue. By understanding what viewability is, how it can be measured, and how it can be improved, advertisers and publishers can optimize their campaigns for success and create a positive experience for users.