It found that player size, location, device type and audibility played key roles in the ability for a video ad to be classified as viewable.
Google’s report adhered to the Media Rating Council standard for video viewability, which is at least 50% of an ad’s pixels are visible on-screen for a minimum of two consecutive seconds.
Many of Google’s findings were fairly instinctual, such that 76% of non-viewable ads ran in a background tab or never appeared on-screen. About 24% were abandoned in less than two seconds or when the user scrolled off-screen.
“Larger players tended to have better viewability,” Ahari said, “and we also found sites that were designed for the video experience front and center, rather than making a secondary experience where video is one among many things on a page, tended to perform better.”
Unsurprisingly, viewability rates for mobile web both on smartphones and tablets were high. People generally use their tablets to consume media in a lean-back manner and mobile screens are optimized for that.
While Google claimed YouTube inventory was close to equally viewable on mobile devices (94%) as on desktop (87%), viewability for non-YouTube video inventory on desktop was 53%, while non-YouTube mobile and tablet inventory rose to 83% and 81%, respectively.
Google also recently began to measure video ad audibility. It measured via a control group the effectiveness of an ad for brand lift based on ad recall for videos playing with the sound on and off. For users exposed to YouTube ads that were heard, but not seen, it claimed there was 33.1% higher ad recall than those who weren’t exposed to the ad in the first place.
Naturally, there was “greater lift when you have full sight, sound and motion, but it was encouraging that there was still effectiveness in recall when the consumer was able to hear, but not see it,” Ahari said. “This is just like the premise of radio ads, which are heard but not seen, so it reiterates that simple concept for video with real data.”