Additionally, above-the-fold ads are only 68% viewable, and below-the-fold ads are 40% viewable. Ads placed directly above the fold, as opposed to at the top of the page, scored a higher viewability rate.
“There’s a premium associated with being above the fold or below the fold,” added Sweeney. “But the question is if when a publisher sells ads, are they delineating between those two? And are they actually charging a difference between those two? It’s going to be different for every publisher.”
Google’s data also suggests that viewability increases with ad unit size and that vertical ad units are more viewable than horizontal formats, because they stay on a page longer as a user scrolls.
As a final finding, Google’s data suggests that viewability rates differ from one industry to the next. The data associates higher viewability rates with verticals or content that holds a user’s attention. Reference sites, for instance, scored a 51.9% rate of viewability, whereas Internet and telecom sites scored a 46.4% rate of viewability.
It remains to be seen how these finding affect publishers and advertisers. For instance, if page position and ad size matter, will advertisers pay more for placement right above the fold than at the top of the page? Will ad pricing change depending on differing viewability rates within each industry?
“I'm not going to speculate, but generally it's fair to say that one of the main effects of viewability measurements is that it may cause advertisers and publishers to value inventory differently,” said Ahari. “This report is really only designed to look at viewability, not engagement, but anecdotally it makes sense that the more time someone spends with the content, the more likely ads are to come into viewability range.”