Putting Science Behind the Standards

Posted 1 year ago by Jeremy Walker

On February 4, the IPG Media Lab, in conjunction with Cadreon and Integral Ad Science, released the results of an in-depth study on viewability and its impact on branding metrics. The IPG Lab spent several months conducting the research, with the goal of testing the overall hypothesis that the more viewable an ad is, the more effective it will be in driving brand results. To be clear, the goal was not to set a new standard definition of what a viewable impression should be, but to gauge the correlation between a viewable impression and the increase in branding results.

The study was conducted in a controlled environment, and included a 10,000 person panel. Members of the panel were exposed to a wide variety of different ad placement scenarios, and were then required to answer a post-exposure survey. Some members of the panel were also included in the eye-tracking measurement section of the study to test how long people actually pay attention to an ad once it becomes viewable.

As a refresher, the MRC defines a display ad as being viewable when 50% of the pixels are displayed on the screen for a minimum of 1 second. Video ad impressions are considered viewable when 50% of the pixels are in view for 2 consecutive seconds.

The early results of the study were released in October during Advertising Week, with the final results being made public in February. Some of the key findings were:

  • Ad effectiveness does not suddenly increase when the minimum standard of viewability is met, but rather time in view and ad effectiveness are directly correlated. “Time in view is king” according to the study.
  • Time in view affects all formats similarly (banner, rich media, video), with large format ads seeing the highest rate of increase in attention as viewable time increased.
  • Having audio on for video ads greatly increases the percent of ad recall, even showing a big lift for ad units that were below the minimum viewability threshold.
  • Because of the 2 dimensional nature of the viewability definition, some ads that fall below the minimum threshold can still have a branding impact, usually by exceeding one of the dimensions but falling short on the other.

The study came away with some key recommendations as well:

  • Placing a logo at the top of the creative asset greatly increases ad recall, even for ads that fall below the minimum threshold of viewability.
  • Target pages where there are fewer ads, as this will increase recall, with a significant lift occurring at the 1 second and 4 second mark. Maximize share of view.
  • Focus on areas where ads will be in view for longer periods of time, like email and premium content.

See the results and findings below:

Viewability Study

Viewability White Paper

Viewability Infographic