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Viewability: the mobile video advertising advantage

StephenAs advertisers and agencies start to understand the value of mobile advertising, they're asking much more subtle, probing questions.

They're no longer concerned with how to port banner ads across to mobile (and the industry as a whole has moved way, way beyond that). They are, quite rightly, asking about whether their ads are actually being displayed - that is, with at least 50% of the pixels visible on the screen for one second.

This is known as viewability, and it's a hot topic right now. It boils down to whether impressions that chip away at the campaign budget stand a chance of affecting the audience. If they're visible on the screen, then yes, they stand that chance, of creating awareness or engagement or conversion, or any of the great things mobile advertising can do. But if not, they cannot.

This can happen for several reasons. The most common is that a page can be very long, particularly if it's a news site or app, with an ad slot that is 'below the fold', that is, part of the page but not shown on the screen. Scroll down and you might see it, but it's hardly ideal placement. And yet, it might be charged as an impression. Viewable impressions vs non-viewable: it's an important distinction.

So Google caused quite a stir earlier in the year when it  published its research into viewability and then built viewability options into its dashboards. However, look a bit more closely and you'll see that Google's research didn't include mobile apps. It actually states that  “The data used in this study are based on display ads in browsers (desktop and mobile) and does not include mobile in-app or video apps.”

Mobile has certain characteristics that make mobile ads inherently more viewable, and the Media Research Council agrees in the PDF of its viewable ad impression guidelines. These are to do with the way apps are designed, as opposed to mobile sites, the flow of app user journeys in certain specific sectors such as gaming, and the formats that mobile can support, such as full-screen, video and native.

And, all told, we also think this makes mobile impressions more valuable than desktop.

Intrigued? Our CEO and co-founder, Stephen Upstone, takes up this story on The Drum, so jump across to read how mobile video ads are more viewable and more valuable...