Ad viewability benchmarks published thi" /> David H Boggs Search Marketing Blog: Current digital travel ads score poorly on viewability

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Current digital travel ads score poorly on viewability

21 February 2019 (Edited 07 March 2019)

Ad viewability benchmarks published this week by Google for 27 industry categories show that for the travel category, viewability of video ads ranks at #25 (60% viewability), that of display ads at #24 (49% viewability).

Per the standard set by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), for an ad to score a viewable impression at least 50% of the creative must display on the user's screen for at least one second.

Google attributes viewability differences among industry categories to the extent to which ads hold users' attention with engaging content. This accounts for, e.g., the Games category ranking #1 for video ads (82% viewable), #2 for display ads (80% viewable).

A report from comScore that 54% of display ad impressions for which advertisers are paying are not viewable under the IAB criterion has gotten the attention of advertisers, for obvious reasons.

Because using clickthrough rate (CTR) as a key ad performance metric - as has traditionally been done - produces misleading results when numbers of viewable impressions are overstated.

Understandably, advertisers now want max visibility of their ads, for max return on ad spend.

Helpfully, Google has offered several suggestions as to how to create more viewable ads, even in a category like Travel where users apparently tend to expect ads to be humdrum:

  1. Optimize for mobile because viewability of video and display ads is higher on smaller screens (55%-97% viewable across categories for mobile vs. 42%-85% for desktop).
  2. Create big ads and vertical ads because they - video and particularly display - are in most cases more viewable than smaller ads. Some vertical video ads outperform larger horizontal ads. Depending on size and orientation, viewability of video ads varies between 88% and 95%, that of display ads between 47% and 94%.
  3. Above-the-fold ads are more likely to be seen, but there's a lot of viewable ad inventory below the fold with lower costs per impression (CPM). For video ads, Google finds 73% viewability above the fold, 45% below, and for display ads, 69% vs. 47%.



If Google's finding about the general run of travel ads being unexciting is correct, if you can produce sexy travel ads the world should beat a path to your door.

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