Key Points

  • Viewability is a metric by which publishers and advertisers can gauge the value of ad inventory. 
  • It demonstrates the percentage of impressions that were viewed by site visitors and helps advertisers determine the amount they should spend on ads on your site.
  • The standard formula for calculating viewability rate is (total viewable impressions / total impressions) x 100, which represents a good baseline, but due to several additional factors, viewability rates are hardly ever 100% accurate.
  • While there are a number of tools you can use for viewability measurement across your site, it can be a rather complex metric to optimize without a partner like Playwire.

When it comes to amplifying your ad revenue, viewability is a big part of the game.

It sometimes flies under the radar, since other metrics like cost per mille (CPM) and click-through rate (CTR) get so much attention. But think of it like this: if CPM is the big boss of ad performance metrics, viewability is at the starting line helping to determine who does and doesn’t join the game.

If you can’t get passed viewability, the other metrics or KPIs are irrelevant.

Learning how to calculate and improve the viewability rate of the ads on your website is a necessity for publishers of all sizes. Once you understand your viewable impressions, you can begin optimizing to drive ad revenue.

In this post, we’ll give you the cheat codes for how to calculate and measure viewability metrics on your site. If you’ve been frustrated by lags in your revenue, then keep reading!

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Ad Viewability Guide

Read the Complete Guide to Ad Viewability For Publishers

How to Calculate Viewability Rate

To calculate your viewability rate, you just need a few basics —

  • An analytics tool: MOAT and Active View are two of the most popular options for accessing viewability data, but you can also use tools like Smaato or InfoLinks to measure and report on viewable impressions.
  • Some key figures: To calculate your viewable rate, use your chosen analytics tool to get some specific data sets. The first is the total number of viewable impressions and the second is the total number of ad impressions that were measured.
  • An eye for interpretation: Wouldn’t it be nice if viewable impressions could be calculated precisely with one simple formula? Sure, there is a formula, but let’s be honest…nothing in ad tech is simple. For a wide range of reasons, ad impressions on your site may not be measurable. These are called non-measurable impressions (pretty simple to remember, right?). But not as simple to work with. Only a trained and critical (human) eye will be able to factor these into the bigger picture of viewability rate. For the most part, your measurement tool will do a good job of getting a rating that is as close to accurate as possible, but it’s important to keep in mind that it may not be 100% precise.

Calculating Viewability With MOAT by Oracle

MOAT is the industry standard for measuring viewability and other performance indicators like CPMs and CTR. 

MOAT’s software updates viewability data every 200ms, and using JavaScript, can be measured across all browsers. As any reputable analytic tool would be, MOAT’s viewability standards are compliant with Interactive Advertising Bureau's (IAB) MRC Viewable Ad Impression Guidelines.

MOAT by Oracle-2

Accessing Viewability Data With Google Active View

Google Active View is another tool you can use to measure viewability. It is native to Google Ad ManagerAdSense, and AdMob. Since these are considered the most commonly used platforms and networks across the digital advertising industry, Active View is an accessible option for all publishers. 

Active View metrics also follow the same viewability standards established by the IAB and the Media Ratings Council. 

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The Formula for Calculating Ad Viewability

Once you pick your fighter (your analytics tool) and your weapons (all the necessary figures), it’s time to learn the killer combo move.

AKA = calculate your rate.

Honestly, all analytics tools should have the functionality to complete this formula automatically, but if manual is more your style, here it is —

(Total viewable impressions/total measurable impressions) x 100 = your viewability rate as a percentage.

A-A-B. One-two-kick. That’s all there is to it.

Just remember this rating won’t be 100% accurate, since it won’t always include non-measurable impressions. The accuracy of this number depends on how many non-measurable impressions your site receives. 

Key Viewability Metrics

There are a few other characters we need to introduce you to in reference to viewability —

  • Ad calls: Also known as ad requests, this refers to the number of instances an ad is displayed on a page during an active session. Ad calls ≠ viewable impressions, but they do show the number of times an impression was available for viewing.
  • Average viewable CPM: This is the average cost of 1000 viewable impressions.
  • Measurable cost: This is the cost of all measured impressions.
  • Measurable impression: Not all ads on your site can be measured. The measurable impressions metric shows the ad calls your reporting tool was able to measure.
  • Measurable rate: This percentage demonstrates the rate at which your impressions can be measured by your reporting tool.
  • Viewable CTR: This metric covers the number of viewable impressions that were clicked by a visitor.
  • Viewable impression distribution: This percentage shows how many impressions — both measurable and non-measurable impressions — were viewable.
  • Viewable rate: This percentage indicates how many impressions have qualified as viewable.

Calculate Viewability With Playwire

That’s all there is to know about conquering and calculating viewable impressions. Once you’re able to understand your viewability metrics, then comes the hard part: optimizing.

The viewability optimization process is (surprise!) like gaming in expert mode. Figuring out how to improve viewability is complicated enough. But there’s also the question of whether or not it’s even worth it for you to do so.

In every game, there are wise characters who help show you the way to victory. That’s us. Take our hand, and we’ll show you what you need to know.

Our team knows all the combos. We’ve got the equipment and even the cheat codes. We’re here to amplify your revenue. 

Ready for your first mission? Press START to accept.

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