Our friends at Integral Ad Science, in partnership with Cadreon and IPG Media Lab, recently conducted a report on viewability that is shaking up the way ad tech industry folks think about benchmarking viewability and its effects on consumer ad recall.

The generally accepted — though sometimes contested — viewability standards for advertisements as provided by the MRC are:

  • Standard banner ads: at least 50% of ad pixels must be in view for at least 1 second
  • Rich media and large format ads: at least 30% of ad pixels must be in view for at least 1 second
  • Video ads: At least 50% of ad pixels must be in view for at least 2 seconds
viewability definition sovrn.com
Source: “Putting the Science Behind the Standards”, IPG Media Lab, Cadreon, Integral Ad Science

To test out these standards and their impact on ad effectiveness, IPG Media Lab surveyed just under 10,000 consumers against variables including percent in view, time in view, ad type, logo placement, share of view (ad clutter), and contextual relevance, among others.

Here are 5 findings from the report that made our jaws hit the floor:

#1 Only 3% of readers are able to recall the content of an ad after it is in view for the minimum viewability standard while 11% of readers could recall an ad when 100% of pixels are in view for at least 1 second. Many times brand names or logos are not visible at the current minimum viewability standard, therefore negatively affecting the reader’s ability to remember ad content. Pro tip for advertisers: always stick your logos at the top of the creative! 

viewability standard statistics 2016 sovrn.com
Source: “Putting Science Behind the Standards”, IPG Media Lab, Cadreon, Integral Ad Science

#2 Ads are most effective when 100% of pixels are in view for greater than 7 seconds.The amount of time that an ad is in view is equally as important as the proportion of ad pixels in view. Consumer attention is primarily driven by increased ad engagement time.

display ad viewability stats 2016 sovrn.com
Source: “Putting Science Behind the Standards”, IPG Media Lab, Cadreon, Integral Ad Science

#3 Readers are more likely to remember a banner ad than a video ad – banner ads have a 19% chance of ad recall at the MRC standard, while videos only have a 10% chance of recall at the standard! $100 to anyone who can explain this one to me.

video ads viewability metrics 2016 sovrn.com
Source: “Putting Science Behind the Standards”, IPG Media Lab, Cadreon, Integral Ad Science

#4 Video ads with audio showed a 175% lift in ad recall for ads less viewable than the MRC standard. But none of that auto-audio business, please. Brands should seek in-stream video inventory where viewers are more likely to be engaged and have their audio turned on already.

#5 Above the fold ads are not always king. Though above the fold ads meet the standards for viewability quite easily, they often have less time in view than other ads on the page. Instead, ads that are adjacent to highly engaging copy, such as units that lock and scroll alongside a lengthy article, get the most stage time.

All-in-all, here are big four takeaways from the “Putting Science Behind the Standards” report:

viewable ads engagement time sovrn.com
Source: “Putting Science Behind the Standards”, IPG Media Lab, Cadreon, Integral Ad Science

As more and more insightful data about viewability is shared we will continue to refine our viewability standards and the valuation of inventory for publishers. For publishers that can offer highly viewable inventory and extended ad engagement time, buyers will be all but knocking at your door.

For the trailblazers looking to improve their reader experience and cash in on buyers’ desire for improved ad recall: decrease your ad clutter, capitalize on whitespace with “sticky” ad units that get longer time in the spotlight, and test out highly viewable units both above and below the fold.

Scroll To Top Opt Out