Key Points

  • Viewability rating impacts two main areas for publishers: fill rate and inventory value.
  • Higher viewability does not always = more revenue. The trick is for publishers to find a perfectly optimized balance between the two.
  • Finding the perfect balance between your viewability and revenue is no easy feat. That’s why most publishers opt to work with a revenue partner like Playwire.

Maybe you’ve heard it before, or maybe this is your first time. Regardless, it’s worth saying: viewability is a critical metric for publishers to understand and optimize often.


Because of the myriad of ways it impacts publisher ad revenue.

Advertisers want their ads to be seen — duh — so having viewable ad inventory (we recommend aiming for a rating of over 60%) can mean more demand, higher fill rates, and more $$$.

In this article, we’ll break down how ad viewability impacts publisher revenue. So if you’re not convinced yet, then keep reading.

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Ad Viewability Guide

Read the Complete Guide to Ad Viewability For Publishers

How Does Ad Viewability Impact Publisher Revenue?

While ad viewability and revenue are connected, they are also opposing forces in many ways in that you often need to sacrifice one to increase the other. We’re talking short-term versus long-term success here.

Increasing your viewability will typically decrease served impressions and ad requests. Which means less money in your pocket. Initially. But, in the long term, it will drive higher CPM rates and more premium buyers to your more highly valued inventory.

On the flip side, while adding tons of available ad inventory may drive a sudden burst in revenue, adding too many highly viewable ad placements could also negatively impact user experience. And as a publisher, user experience should always be your top priority especially when it directly correlates with your viewability score.

That being said, when optimized correctly, and under the right circumstances, viewability has the power to skyrocket your revenue in two main ways —

  • By unlocking more demand and increasing your fill rate
  • By increasing the value of your inventory
Let’s explore.

Ad Viewability and Fill Rate

Your viewability rating directly impacts the demand for your inventory. This is because many advertisers simply won’t work with publishers with ratings below a specific numeric viewability standard.

These standards should be examined through a human-focused lens. Think: numbers that end in 5 or 0. If an advertiser is looking for inventory for their ad campaign, they usually approach it with a minimum viewability standard in mind, say 65% or 70%. They won’t worry about minor details and decimal points. They will automatically filter out inventory that has low ad viewability and doesn’t meet that minimum requirement.

This means optimizing from 61% to 64% probably isn’t worth it. Chances are, anyone interested in your inventory will be looking for a minimum viewability rating of 60%. So that optimization wouldn’t be worth the effort.

However, optimizing from 64% to 65%...that 1% would be worth it. Even though it’s a significantly smaller increase, that effort would unlock a large chunk of previously inaccessible demand that had a minimum requirement of 65%.

The data backs this up, too. Google reports that increasing your video ad viewability from 50% to 90% can result in a revenue boost of as much as 80%.

That’s a pretty big leap to take, so we’re not advising you to try to tackle that goal right off the bat. But even baby-step optimizations of 2-5% can greatly impact publisher revenue.  

Ad Revenue Graph-1

Ad Viewability and Inventory Value

Once your viewability rating has helped you unlock new demand, advertisers will use it to determine the optimal ad spend they are willing to allocate to your inventory.

The primary figures buyers use to calculate bids are —

  • Viewability rating
  • Average sale rate (on the advertisers’ website)
  • Click-through rate (CTR)
  • Conversion rate (CR)

So, if the average sale on an advertiser’s site is $100, your CTR is 1%, and your CR is 1%, that means an advertiser will be able to budget $1 to bid on your ad inventory. 

You might be wondering where the viewability rate factors into all this.

Think of it this way: if 0% of your ads are viewable, then your CTR and CR will both be 0%.

Unless you want advertisers to bid $0 on your inventory, then that’s not ideal.

The higher an ad’s viewability rate, the higher likelihood of a potential customer clicking that ad and completing a sale. Thus, the more the advertiser can afford to bid on your ad space.

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Playing the Long Game With Viewability

In general, viewability is a lagging indicator, meaning that it reflects the average historical data on your site going back at least two weeks.

Does this technically mean you could add a bunch of unviewable ad placements on your page and make more money tomorrow than you did today? Yes.

Should you? Not if you want to have a thriving business eight months from now.

If you’re looking to establish sustainable relationships with advertisers, then you need to look at viewability as a long game. It’s the only way to show advertisers that you won’t sacrifice their objectives for a short-term money grab.

Optimizing for viewability typically won’t be pretty. Sometimes it will look downright frightening when you notice short-term revenue shrinking. But ultimately, it is an investment that will secure your business in the future.

Optimize Viewability and Revenue With Playwire 

Have we sold you on the importance of striking the perfect balance between viewability and revenue? Good. The next step is finding out where that balance point is for you.

We’ll give you the bad news first: like almost everything in the world of digital advertising, finding that balance is not a simple and risk-free process.

There’s good news, though. We’re here to help.

At Playwire, we’re experts at optimizing all things for our publishers. Need proof?

With Playwire’s RAMP Platform integrated and the support of our team of ad tech experts, our publishers have experienced immediate revenue increases of 65% and decreases in operational expenses of as much as 30%.

Sounds great right? Contact us online to get started today.

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