Design Viewability

7 Ways to Optimize Ad Viewability

Sovrn Publisher Advocate // May 22, 2019

sovrn ad viewability example

Viewable ads are key to maximizing stable site revenue. Advertisers want viewable inventory, and in recent weeks we’ve talked about how Signal can help you take advantage of that inventory to boost your revenue by up to 26%. This week, we’ll discuss how you can optimize ad viewability, and give yourself the best chance at maximizing the value of every reader.

Content is King

Keep content fresh, interesting, and relevant to your audience and content or topic area. You can use Google Analytics or other page insight tools to give you data on what content your audience spent time on and interacted with the most. Leverage that data when planning content, as well as campaigns.

Responsive Web Design

Nearly 4 billion people access the internet on a regular basis. They spend, on average, nearly 6 hours a day online. Desktop time has remained steady at just over 2 hours per day, while mobile browsing time has steadily increased to more than 3 hours per day. It’s important to ensure that your strategies work across all browser and device types so that your site, including your ads, will be viewable no matter how your audience browses.

Avoid Ads that Get in the Way

Ad formats that take over an entire screen, obscure content, or auto-play jarring sound can provide a poor user experience. These can contribute to lower viewability by increasing bounce rates and reducing session times. In other words, intrusive or content-obstructing ads can drive your audience away and decrease the time spent engaging with your content. That’s bad for viewability, it’s bad for revenue, and it’s bad for your business. A better strategy is to maximize the value of your available inventory in order to avoid ad clutter and make more money with fewer ads, and one way to do that is with Signal.

Above the Fold

In general, the ad inventory on your pages with the highest viewability will be the ad slots or zones that appear “above the fold”, which is the visible area, typically in the upper section of your website that doesn’t require scrolling to view content. Using non-intrusive formats and ad sizes in the above the fold section is a critical component to maintaining your site’s overall viewability.

Bigger Can be Better

In general, larger ads perform better viewability-wise than smaller ads. In particular, 300×600 and 970×250 ads see higher viewability. But that doesn’t mean that you should neglect other placements, or that you shouldn’t test your ad setup (you should).

Don’t Forget your Sidebars

Along with above the fold placements, sidebar ad inventory—especially 160×600 and 300×600 skyscraper ads—have been shown to consistently generate high viewability ratings due to the length of that vertical ad type.

As a user is reading an article, a 160×600 or 300×600 ad will stay in view longer than a more horizontal ad format. These ads are particularly valuable when combined with our Signal technology, which reloads viewable ad inventory to maximize revenue.

Know the Benefits of Long vs. Short Form Content

While common wisdom would suggest that long-form content would
automatically invite more user engagement with your content, short form content that either fits in a page that doesn’t require too much scrolling, or is presented with a lazy-load or infinite scroll process, can be just as effective—if not more  if not more so—at ensuring that your users are engaging with your content and that your ad inventory is viewable.

When you optimize your site for ad viewability, you’re taking steps not only to secure revenue in the short term, but to boost business growth over the long term. Without quality, viewable inventory, advertising interest drops off, and revenue suffers. Prioritizing viewability also gives you access to products that take advantage of that viewability and further boost your viewability scores. That’s a powerful (and revenue-boosting) positive feedback loop.

Finally, remember that optimization is an ongoing process. If you’re ever in need of help or training, our Services team of on-demand ad ops experts can get you on track, no matter your goals.

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