Everything You Know About Viewability Could be Wrong
Now that viewability measurement has become ubiquitous across the digital space, advertisers are looking deeper into the meaning of this metric and how it translates to success. Agencies have dozens of publishers across several channels to oversee, and finding the proverbial silver bullet at the beginning of the consumer journey (awareness) to support conversion can be difficult.
For ad formats best suited toward awareness, the popular opinion generally rests above a certain viewability threshold, usually 70-80 percent. According to our data, this makes sense: Most IOs are still written on a conventional CPM, and when looking at placement viewability aligned with click-through rates (CTRs), you do see the highest CTRs are on placements with 70-80 percent viewable rates.
But what if the advertiser is only charged for viewable impressions? This has been the standard practice at Nativo for years. In fact, we initially sold all campaigns on a viewable CPM and did not introduce conventional CPM pricing to our marketplace until 2017. When we applied the same analysis to viewable impressions, it became clear why viewable CPMs are superior to the status quo for both advertisers and publishers.
Looking at data from January through March of this year, the viewable CTR for placements with 60 percent+ viewable rates was .81 percent, while for placements with less than 30 percent viewable rates the CTR was .94 percent. In other words, if the advertiser is paying a conventional CPM and optimizing toward high viewability, there is significant missed opportunity below the fold.
Ads have to be seen before they can be clicked, so buying on a viewable CPM ensures that the advertiser is only paying for ads on which users can actually click. For those who take this approach, there are millions of clicks waiting below the fold.
Viewable CTRs show us that users are more likely to click once they’ve made some progress down the page. This makes sense through the perspective of the user, as consumers don’t go to sites looking for banners and pre-roll. They go to the site to read content, so placements at the top of the page (highest viewability) are the most susceptible to banner blindness. This explains why in-feed native tends to perform better: It is placed where people are looking for content.
We also assessed the quality of these clicks by looking at conversion rates in the same time frame. For placements with 40 percent viewability and below, we see a more extreme lift across our network. These placements, which sit at the bottom of the page, are 3.5-times more likely to lead to a conversion than the 70-80 percent viewable placements. In other words, once users are done consuming the content they came for, they are more likely to engage with your brand.
Effective analytics in any business follow the money. Instead of the time-consuming upkeep of holding publishers to viewability benchmarks, charge the buy on a viewable CPM and realize the opportunity that awaits below the fold.