Best Practices to Lift Your Ad Viewability Score

If you measure ad impressions based on how many are displayed, you will know that doesn’t tell whether they have seen your ad. It happens when there’s banner blindness or when your ads are served below the folds. Fewer ad views relatively mean less engagement, which translates to lower brand awareness or lesser conversion.

Imagine spending your precious dollars on placing the ads that no one sees.

That is why you need to measure your ad campaign performance or results using viewability metric or measure viewable impressions.

What is Ad Viewability?

According to Jack Marshall of Digiday, “Viewability is an online advertising metric that aims to track only impressions that can actually be seen by users.” Even the IAB has highlighted how the state of viewability in 2015 is shaping up.

How to Improve your Viewability Score?

Now, with viewability score, you can learn the performance of your ad campaign from the numbers of viewers over the numbers of conversion. To further increase your campaign success, you will need to improve your viewability score. Here are some best practices to follow.

Go Mobile All The Way

As far as viewable impressions are concerned, mobile beats desktop for ad viewability. And it’s more to do with how HTML5 is propelling them forward. HTML5 standard banner viewability was especially strong on mobile (79.3%) vs. desktop (48.4%).


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Not to mention that by 2019, ad spending in America will have 72% of its budget all on the mobile landscape. This will only ramp up the viewability rate of mobile devices, making it an easy decision for you to make.

This is evident from the usage of mobile compared to desktops, as we can now see a dramatic shift of dominance from one medium to the other.


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Once you have prioritised the use of mobile devices for a better viewability score, you’ll need to…

Work On Your Ad Placement

Most mistakes occur not only because of the ad design but where the ad is placed as well. It’s paramount to position them in the most optimal area for effective mobile viewability engagements.

You would think that the best place to position your ad is at the top. However,  users tend to scroll immediately down shortly after opening a page. Because of this, the top is the very first area to be neglected instantly. Nor does the very bottom work well either.

According to Google’s 5 Factors of Display Viewability; “The most viewable position is right above the fold, not at the top of the page.”

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Granted, above the fold ads are not guaranteed to deliver all the time. Sometimes below the fold works too, though they possess a lower percentage rate of 40% when compared to above the fold’s 68%.

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Always ensure that your ad is served in the right position regardless of the device. This may bring an even bigger challenge forward with different sizes now found on phones and tablets to accommodate, as above or below the folds don’t always work in all given situations.

Thankfully a new IAB study helped us to minimise that issue, in the form of repositioning your main sidebar ad.

Once you have found an optimal area to achieve more viewable impressions on mobile, the next thing is to…

Be Aware of the Various Ad Sizes

Not all mobile devices share the same screen size and structure. Hence, the mobile ad’s viewability factor in all of them varies as well. Here’s a quick guide on the ad size standards set by the IAB.

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These are typical sizes for rich media banners, however, which of them is the most popular to use?

Look no further again on what Google has to offer on the most viewable and popular ad sizes.

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This is where you will need the same ad in various different sizes, to first try it out and determine which obtains the best viewability in the many different mobile advertising platforms. Your viewable impressions will have a better chance when a single ad size works well across all places.

When you have the right size fits your ad, it’s time to ask the following question…

Is Your Target Industry the Best for Ad Viewability?

Your mobile viewability score depends as well on where it’s being displayed at, as not all industry types share the same mobile browsing behaviour. Take a look at this image below from Google’s 5 Factors of Viewability, to get a better look.

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Your best chance at getting high viewability impressions in mobile would be through white paper reference materials at 51.9%, followed by online communities at 48.9% and games at 48.4%.

Unless your ads are all about hobbies and leisure (44.8% only), you’ll do best to steer clear away from targeting an industry with the least amount of views from users. All hope is not lost, however, if you already follow our previous points above.

By adopting the more ideal viewable impression metric, improving your page design and finding the best ad placement/size to use, your mobile ad viewability rate will have a good percentage ratio in any industry.

You can also employ the use of rich media ads that are tailor-made to tackle banner blindness with their highly interactive features.

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As long as you stay updated with today’s best practices, your chances are always good.

What Can We Take Away From This?

How likely will a user view your rich media ad, depends heavily on the following…

  • Served impressions only determine if an ad has reached a user, so adopt viewable impressions to find out how many users actually see your ad.
  • Are you mobile-focused? If no, it’s time to do so and leave the desktops behind when the former has more active users there.
  • Ensure that your ad placement is ideal for viewing across different mediums and sizes.
  • Go with a popular ad size that fits well across all devices.
  • Different industries offer different results. However, you can maximise them with the best practices in this article.

Having the best chance of being seen leads to better call-to-action (CTA). However, you need to do more than just be seen. Engagement is also important and will determine a conversion.

If you found this article to be a fruitful one, please share this with your colleagues and partners. Thank you!


Alvin is the Founder and CEO of He is a go-getter, and adventurous guy who believes in working smart to gain success in his business ventures and in life. He also founded and