US Display Ad Viewability Benchmarks, by Unit, in H2 2016

Viewability continues to be a key concern for media buyers when planning digital campaigns. So what percentage of display impressions in the US actually are in view for at least 1 second? Integral Ad Science (IAS) dug into the data [download page] from its platform to reveal viewability benchmarks for various ad units.

Overall, vertically-oriented ads tended to produce better results during the second half of 2016 in terms of viewability than horizontal and/or smaller ads. Half Page (300×600) ads recorded the highest viewability rate, of 60.6%, closely followed by Skyscrapers (160×600), with a 59.9% viewability rate. Other popular ad formats – Billboard (54.1%) and Leaderboard (52.6%) registered a majority in view by the MRC standard, though how impressive that result is remains in the eye of the beholder…

It remains quite difficult to catch the eye of a viewer (bot?) for at least 5 seconds, though some units had relatively high rates. Once again, the Half Page (42.2%) and Skyscraper (42.1%) units performed best, with their ≥5s viewability rates rivaling the ≥1s viewaiblity rate for Medium Rectangle (300×250) units (45.7%).

Overall, some 53% of US display ad impressions were viewable during H2 2016, with impressions bought directly from publishers (60%) achieving higher rates than those bought programatically (49.6%). The report separately shows that brand safety risk is twice as high for display impressions bought programmatically than for those bought direct from publishers.

Global Video Completion Rate In-View

Turning its attention to video ads, the IAS report shows that only about one-third (35.1%) of video ads were both in view per the MRC standard and played to completion. Interestingly, the completion rate in-view did not drop off too much from the first quarter (44.5%) to the full completion.

Once again, video ads had more success when bought directly with publishers than when they were bought programmatically: while a majority (53.1%) of those bought direct were in-view and viewed to completion, fewer than one-third (29.9%) of those bought programmatically reached that threshold.

About the Data: The IAS display ad data is based on a sample of 200 billion impressions in the US, while the video ad data is based on a sample of 6 billion impressions globally across direct and programmatic channels.