Our view on Viewability


An ad served doesn’t necessarily equal an ad viewed, and advertisers and publishers are catching onto this as the industry shifts toward valuing viewable rather than served impressions. It makes sense – why would an advertiser want to pay for impressions that are never seen by real human users – let alone their target audience!

In order to monitor this, Smartology works closely with Moat to track viewability across all SmartMatch™ campaigns.

So what affects an ad’s viewability?

Reasons for non-viewed ads could be that the user does not scroll far enough down the page to view an ad placement or they scroll too quickly past the ad. Likewise they could be browsing in a different tab or have a separate browsing window open. Latency, Ad blocking and device screen size can also impact viewability. All of these scenarios are common reasons as to why an ad may not be considered ‘viewable’.

An ad not viewed has no opportunity to influence a user – and hence has no real value!


Moat deems an impression viewable if at least 50% of pixels are in the user’s view for at least one continuous second for display formats, as defined by the Media Ratings Council (MRC).

Benefits for Advertisers

Viewability scores can strongly influence CPM rates. If an ad unit has low viewability, advertisers may not have to pay as much for it; this can prevent media budget being wasted on ineffective ads. Beyond this commercial aspect, viewability scores can also be used to determine where ads are most effective so marketers can further hone their marketing strategies.

Benefits for Publishers

Viewability is a useful measurement to see the value of their inventory. By understanding which ad slots generate the highest viewability rates, they can then charge a premium for these impressions. Likewise they can sell off cheaply, or try to re-purpose the inventory with low viewability rates.

Moat Benchmark Industry Standards

The Moat in-view% benchmark figure for Q2, calculated based upon comparing millions of impressions run globally, is 52.90%. That means that just over half of impressions analysed by Moat are actually viewed by human users!

At Smartology we wanted to do a study to see how SmartMatch campaigns fared compared to this industry benchmark figure. The data set for conducting this study is based on all SmartMatch campaigns which ran from Jan 1st 2016.

The results were phenomenal – Smartology, using above-the-fold placements paired with our semantic relevancy matching capabilities, performed 46% higher than the Moat industry benchmark with an average in-view rate of 77.06%.

The future

Viewability, in our opinion, will remain a key issue going forward with advertisers and agencies consistently calling for transparency and guarantees of viewability metrics.  As the landscape evolves and standards are put in place by industry bodies, I believe advertisers will begin to demand that ad buying is available on cost per viewed mille (CPvM) basis.

Whilst CTR, conversions and post-click activity will remain extremely important KPIs for advertisers, before you can even begin to track and measure these metrics, the first and foremost question needs to be ‘Was my ad seen?’.

Although this has caused headaches for all involved in the industry, we believe viewability tracking is a key catalyst for improvement in the market as it ensures advertisers are getting more bang for their viewable buck, and it will drive publishers to continuously develop and optimise their page layouts to ensure higher viewability.

One thing is for sure anyway; viewability is here to stay….

Click to see the full Study here.

Lauren Duggan

UK Sales Manager



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