How to Identify Bad Inventories in Display Ad Campaigns & Save Up To 70% Ad Budgets

  • Post category:Mobile Advertising
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  • Post last modified:February 4, 2021

Do you know that you potentially lose up to 70% of your ad budgets, if your display ads are not seen by your targeted audience? Lots of display ad advertisers run display ads without realizing this.

Yes, ad viewability is a major issue in the Adtech industry and as an advertiser, you need to be aware of this.

Tracking Ad Inventories With A 3rd Party Ad Server

In most display ad campaigns, for mobile or desktop — you would buy ad inventories from a few demand-side platforms (DSP), ad networks and directly to publishers.

But as the campaign starts and your ads get served into websites and applications, would you know which traffic sources are providing you with the rightful report on the number of ad views, ad engagement or clicks that you are paying for?

Not only ad fraud has become imminent in the ad industry, but because of ad viewability, lots of ad budgets are being wasted.

One way to track if your traffic source partner is providing legitimate ad inventories is to make use of a 3rd party ad server to serve your ads. This way, the ad server acts as an external tracking tool, to audit the inventory.

Take a look at a quick report from a past campaign we ran: 

ad fraud report example

In this campaign, we noticed that the traffic source (DSP) was reporting higher impressions & clicks, compared to what we recorded on the MobileAds ad server.

This raised an alarm.

Exactly how legitimate were the ad inventories supplied by the traffic source? Upon checking the ad viewability, it was found that almost up to 50% of the ads were not viewable.

In the end, the advertiser shifted ad budgets to another traffic source and immediately saw better results with better ad viewability.

So What Causes Ads To Have Low Viewability?

There are many reasons to why ads are not viewable.

It could be due to bot traffic, ad blockers blocking the ads or ads loading in an under-laying a tab. We covered ad viewability in another post, so feel free to read the article on ad viewability if you like to learn more.

However, the most common reason ads are not seen, is that most ad inventories on mobile are “below the fold”. Advertisers are still paying for it — even though the ads are not seen by the targeted audience. Advertisers are simply throwing ad budgets into the sea and the wastages can be even as high as 80% to 90%!

How to Identify Bad Inventories in Display Ad Campaigns & Save Up To 70% Ad Budgets 1

Would it be great if you can have a consolidated platform to track every traffic source in your ad campaign?

How Can I Track Whether My Ads Are Viewable?

Again, this is what 3rd party ad servers were built to do. As an ad server, MobileAds offers the ability for advertisers to have a consolidated view through a reporting dashboard, tracking every ad by inventory breakdowns, including DSP & ad exchange breakdowns.

If you have a complete view of how much ad viewability is measured, by line item, then you’ll know precisely which bad inventory to turn off and which performing ad inventory to increase budget on.

This practice itself can instantly increase the performance of your ad campaigns by leaps and bounds.

Let’s take a look at an inventory breakdown report from another past campaign: 

How to Identify Bad Inventories in Display Ad Campaigns & Save Up To 70% Ad Budgets 2

See the above report that shows full visibility of an ad campaign.

It shows a line-by-line breakdown of media buys and their corresponding numbers. You can easily track how many impression were measured, the number of impressions that were in-view, ad engagement rate, clickthrough-rates and much more.

Note that the ad format used in the campaign above was a medium rectangle (MREC) ad that has a dimension of 300px X 250px. From the report, you could see how bad viewability can be on some websites and apps.

In a scenario like this, you can immediately stop the traffic sources from buying into inventories that are not viewable, saving you lots of ad budgets. Then look to optimize viewability by changing ad placements, inventories or even switching the ad format.


Remember, when running a display ad campaign, be it on mobile or desktop — the first step is to discover which ad placements are not performing. This should be done early in the campaign.  When done so, you can then optimize your ads to only run on viewable and performing ad inventories, effectively scaling up your ‘Return on Ad Spend’ (ROAS).

Never run an ad campaign blindly without checking the quality of ad inventories that you buy. Viewability is a huge problem in the ad industry and to reduce ad spend wastage, you need to have full visibility of your media buys.

Sign up for an account at MobileAds today and use the free credits to track your ad campaigns. You may just be surprised to see viewability rate of the ads in your campaigns.


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