Due to the fact that advertisers are all uppity and only want to pay for ads that people see (ugh), Google has made efforts to ensure that display and video ads actually show up on people’s screen, even if it’s just for a few seconds. They’ve released a report that shows that while YouTube is super extra awesome at ensuring that video ads get eyeballs on them, only 54% of video ads on the rest of the net, not including YouTube ads, are actually seen.
YouTube boasts a 91% percent viewability rate for video ads, with an ad being considered to have been viewed if at least 50% of it displayed on an individual’s screen for a minimum of 2 seconds. Google used Active View measurement technology and pulled data on viewability across the Internet, including on tablets, mobile phones and computers. They also gathered this data from YouTube, but they kept the data sets different for comparison purposes.
Unsurprisingly, the main factors in people viewing video ads is based on their ability to escape them. The smaller the video viewing area and the more likely that someone could scroll past them, the less likely they were to be seen. Since smart phone and, to a certain extent, tablets have less visual real estate, if there’s a video ad on the screen, you’re pretty much going to see it, or at least the 50% of pixels required to count it as a view.
This also explains why video ads are so consistently viewed on YouTube. The site is devoted to watching videos, and since most ads are done in seconds, people are generally resigned to viewing them. They’re basically the gatekeeper to the video you actually want to watch. Outside of clicking onto a different tab or viewing comments – and within two seconds, you’re pretty much going to watch a video ad on YouTube.
Although I do think that Google via YouTube has a much easier job of ensuring that video ads are actually watched, they are also providing much higher viewability rates. Whether their job is a cakewalk or not, I think that’s something that’s pretty important to advertisers.
Although Facebook has been shouting from the rooftops how awesome their video ads options are, they have an even sadder baseline for considering an ad viewed – if any part of a video ad shows up on a screen for any amount of time, it gets a check in the “viewed” column. That puts Google head and shoulder’s above Facebook in my opinion.