Key Points

  • Video ad viewability is an important metric for demonstrating the value of your video ad inventory to advertisers.
  • Whether you’re working with display ads or video ads, improving your ad viewability rating is a complex process, but it can and will result in revenue increases.
  • Working with a revenue partner, like Playwire, can help your team find the perfect balance between revenue and video ad viewability.

If you’re running video ads and your ad revenue isn’t where you’d like it to be, you may be tempted to point fingers.

Sure, ad blockers, low-quality demand, and deductions may be hurting your bottom line. But unless you’ve been laser-focused on your viewability rating, you might want to look in the mirror.

According to Google — the big mama of digital advertising — boosting your video ads’ viewability from 50% to 90% could lead to revenue increases of over 80%. 

Safe to say, it’s pretty important.

In fact, viewability is one of the primary metrics by which you can gauge the value of your inventory. 

So what, exactly, is video ad viewability? And how can you improve your rating? Keep reading to find out.

-- Article Continues Below --

Ad Viewability Guide

Read the Complete Guide to Ad Viewability For Publishers

What is Video Ad Viewability?

To put it simply: your video ad viewability rating tells an advertiser how often a video ad is viewable to a site visitor. 

Video ad viewability is one of the most important performance metrics publishers and advertisers use to determine the value of ad inventory. The entire digital advertising ecosystem depends on whether or not a publisher can deliver a viewable ad. 

What do we mean by that?

If an ad unit has 0% viewability —

  • Visitors won’t see the ad placed there.
  • Advertisers won’t get positive results from bidding on that inventory.
  • Advertisers won’t bid on that inventory.
  • Publishers will not earn revenue on that inventory.

In general, our team recommends publishers aim for an overall viewability rating of 60% or higher, with the gold viewability standard being 70% or higher. Keep in mind this rating doesn’t mean your video was 60% visible on the screen, or that the user watched 60% of the content. It means that in 60% of sessions, that ad was considered viewable by visitors.

Video ad viewability is important to publishers because it’s important to advertisers. A low viewability rating means advertisers will bid cautiously — either they’ll bid low or not bid at all — so it has a direct impact on your ad revenue.

How Video Ad Viewability is Measured

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and the Media Rating Council (MRC) are the big bosses of video ad viewability. Together, they have developed clear guidelines that dictate what makes a video ad viewable.

Here’s the gist — 

  • At least 50% of the video’s pixels must appear for a minimum of two seconds. 

No more bullet points. That’s it.

The reason these standards are so low is that the video ad viewability rating is not intended to measure the quality of the creative. Creative quality can be measured by metrics such as watch time and engagement rate, which give advertisers clues as to whether or not users enjoyed the ad. Viewability is only intended to demonstrate the frequency with which certain ad units in certain ad spaces are visible to site visitors.

There are a few tools publishers and advertisers can use to measure viewability. There is MOAT, which is the industry standard, and Google Active View.

Active View is native to Google’s advertising networks and platforms, including Google Ad Manager, AdSense, and AdMob. This means publishers can easily measure their viewability metrics across all the most commonly used digital advertising platforms. 

-- Article Continues Below --

New call-to-action

Check out our Complete Ad Viewability Resource Center

How to Improve Video Ad Viewability

Let’s not sugarcoat it: improving video ad viewability is challenging. But Google has a few best practices to get you started on the right foot.

Provide Premium Experiences

As a publisher, the value of your inventory depends on the value of your content. You should always place a high degree of focus on your ability to provide your users with premium video ad experiences. 

A few things to consider —

  • Page speed: The quicker your site can load videos, the more engaged your audience will be. And an engaged audience = happy advertisers.
  • Navigability: Making video content easy to locate will increase the number of visitors who watch those videos, which will also improve the viewability of ads and content placed next to that video.
  • Focus on quality: Captivate your audience with high-quality, valuable, and unique content, so they’re more likely to stay engaged and return to your site
  • Site organization: Create a designated section of your website to host premium video experiences. This will increase the flow of traffic to your videos
  • Optimize your site: Page speed and responsiveness have a direct impact on the speed at which videos load. Talk to your revenue partner or learn how to optimize your site’s page speed on your own by reviewing Google’s PageSpeed Insights or Playwire’s tips for improving page load speed.
  • Experiment with site settings: Test out different settings such as lazy loading, ad serving, or refresh to improve site speed and viewability. 
  • Restrict passbacks: Passbacks happen when ad calls move through multiple servers. Minimizing them can improve ad load speed.

Adjust Ad Placement

Placement is one of the best ways to increase video ad viewability.

It seems simple, but it’s important enough to mention: if users don’t see your video, they won’t see the ads placed there either.

Some tips for optimizing video ad placement —

  • Know your audience: Get familiar with your site traffic and user behavior. Where on your site do users spend the most time? According to Google, 73% of ads placed above the fold are viewable, while the rating of those places below the fold shrinks to 45%. However, in some cases, visitors may scroll almost instantly, which means that ads placed above the fold will immediately go off-screen. Thus, testing is a significant part of determining premium placement based on your audience. Learn more about the importance of testing below.
  • Adjust play settings: Set videos to autoplay only when the player is in the viewport. In all other circumstances, click-to-play is a better configuration because it ensures only interested users result in an ad call, thus increasing your viewability rating. 

Test Out Different Players

Different players, sizes, placements, etc. will yield different results. If you’re working with a revenue partner like Playwire, leverage that expertise to choose the best of everything for your needs.

Otherwise, you may have to bring out the science equipment to run some tests.

Some tips —

  • Try larger sizes: Increasing the size of the video player will make it a focal point of the page. Larger video players have an average viewability rating of 95%. This could be beneficial if the video content is what visitors are on the page to view. Video content that is not the primary focus could have a negative impact on user experience. 


  • Be mindful of autoplay: In the same way that autoplay can result in more ad calls, it can also disrupt the user experience. This can lead to a higher bounce rate and decreased revenue.


  • Master sticky players: Although they can dramatically increase video ad viewability, some websites may not be a great fit for sticky players. Without a team of experienced pros, you may have to do a bit of A/B testing to find out if they’re a good fit for you.


Playwire: Video Ad Viewability Made Simple

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t worry. That’s why we’re here.

Playwire is your turnkey revenue partner — we have the video tools, the tech, and a team of dedicated pros to help you get where you’re going.

Ready to smash your video advertising goals? Contact us online today to get started.

Contact Us