The next time you walk past a news stand, take a quick look at the front covers of the newspapers. Chances are, you'll see at least one ad, alongside the masthead and headline. This is because the publication really wants you to see the ad, probably because the advertiser paid the most to be seen. To do this, the publisher has made the ad as visible as possible by putting it 'above the fold', so that even when the publication is folded, the ad is still visible.
We do something very similar with mobile advertising, although we give it the wider term of 'viewability'. We've covered this on the blog before, as well as written about it on The Drum, but every time we revisit it we come up with a new analogy.
This time, the analogy is with being 'above the fold'. It's quite easy to be above the fold in 'traditional' print media, because the formats are very similar. Outside of tabloid, broadsheet, magazine and the occasional in-between formats such as the Berliner, there is very little variation. Simply print the ad at the top, and you know it'll be above the fold.
But digital is different. Even before mobile came along there were considerable variations in screen size, display resolution and aspect ratio. Today, mobile has fragmented the landscape, with everything from the smallest mobile phone through to the largest tablet, with many operating systems and variants therein.
However, mobile has some innate advantages regarding viewability. First and foremost, these are around the fact that mobile apps, as well as being the most popular means of using mobile devices, are also purposely designed for mobile. If the publisher really wants to monetise using ads, then it behoves the publisher to ensure the app is designed so the ads are always visible.
There are also ad formats that work best on mobile, and which also negate the viewability issue. Key among these are full-screen ads, which by definition are viewable, and which can work especially well in certain scenarios such as games. Native ads are also great for getting around the viewability issue, because they are expressly designed to work within the interface. In other words: we know where the fold is again.
Our CEO and co-founder, Stephen Upstone, has been spreading the word about mobile viewability, not just in The Drum but Fourth Source too. So, take a look at those great publications to see what he really thinks...