Mobile Video Ad “Viewability” Beats Desktop By 30 Points

  • Google research finds only 53 percent of PC video advertising is viewable.


    Last December Google released research that showed 56 percent of online display ads weren’t ever seen. This startling finding was generally consistent with older studies (e.g., comScore) that showed a large percentage of online ads were not being seen.

    Advertisers were still paying for these phantom or unseen impressions. But in a relatively short period of time viewability has become the new currency for display advertising — especially video. As set forth by the Media Rating Council and IAB, “a video ad is viewable when at least 50 percent of the ad’s pixels are visible on a screen for at least two consecutive seconds.”

    Last week Google released follow-up viewability research, partly promoting its “Active View” measurement technology and partly to expose the finding that YouTube has much higher viewability rates than the industry average. This is further magnified in mobile.

    Video viewability

    Viewability of video ads across the web is somewhat better than general display, according to this study. Google found that the “average viewability of video ads across the web is 54 percent.” This does not include YouTube, however, where Google says, “91 percent of ads served [were] found to be viewable.”

    Not surprisingly Google says that page position translates into to higher viewability. “The more prominent the position, the more viewable the ad.” The company observed, as one might expect, that larger video players also positively impact viewability. Yet, somewhat unexpectedly, mobile video advertising has much higher viewability rates than video on the PC.

    Google reiterates that on YouTube more than half of all video streams are now mobile. And while overall YouTube ad viewability is 91 percent, YouTube mobile viewability is slightly higher at 94 percent.

    Putting aside the self-promotional YouTube related findings, which  are probably accurate, the most interesting data here expose the significantly better viewability rates in mobile. If this finding can be replicated it will lend further ammunition to mobile advocates and help accelerate the adoption of mobile video advertising.

    About The Author

    Greg Sterling is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog, Screenwerk, about connecting the dots between digital media and real-world consumer behavior. He is also VP of Strategy and Insights for the Local Search Association. Follow him on Twitter or find him at Google+.

    (Some images used under license from


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