Video Ad Viewability Update 2018: Benchmarks Across Countries & Devices

March 15, 2019

This article is included in these additional categories:

Advertising Trends | Asia-Pacific | Creative & Formats | Demographics & Audiences | Digital | Display & Rich Media | North America | UK | Video

Brands running video ads on YouTube continue to see good performance in terms of viewability, according to the latest findings from Google. Overall viewability continued to hit 95% in September 2018, matching the level shown in May 2017’s data.

Viewability for YouTube video ads far surpassed those on other platforms, per the data, with web & app video ads averaging a viewability rate of 68%, which is only a small gain from May 2017’s somewhat-comparable figure of 66%. New for this version of Google’s report are benchmarks for display ads, of which only half were viewed during the September 2018 study period.

As with previous figures, the study is based on Google and DoubleClick advertising platform data, and uses the Media Ratings Council definition of viewability (a minimum of 50% of the ad is in view for a minimum of 2 continuous seconds).

A wider study on video ads by Extreme Reach – which included Connected TV (CTV) – illustrated a growing video ad completion rate, particularly with longer ad formats. This study highlighted the significant impact of ad views and engagement depending on the device where the impression was served. For example, while CTV leads on impressions, it lags on click-through rate.

Google’s figures also demonstrate a device and ad unit divide when it comes to viewability. While 97% of YouTube Ads served on a mobile device were viewable, this figure fell to 85% for desktop. For web & app video Ads, a high of 73% of ads were viewable on tablets, in contrast to 68% for mobile and 65% for desktop. For display ads, the picture is even more significant – 55% were viewed on mobile, compared to 45% on tablet and 42% on desktop.

In the US, figures from Integral Ad Science showed a slightly conflicting figure, with desktop (68.4%) marginally leading mobile (65.2%) for video ad viewability.

Here are some other findings from Google’s data.

Viewability Benchmarks by Country

There is some variation in viewability by country when it comes to format, however in all cases YouTube Ads performed the most strongly.

In the US, average viewability for YouTube Ads was 94%, while the average rate for web & app video ads was 66% and 49% for display ads. In Canada, viewability rates were comparable for YouTube video ads (94%) as well as for display ads (51%), but the US’s norther neighbor enjoyed a higher average viewability for web & app video ads on platforms other than YouTube (71%).

Meanwhile, UK ad viewability rates were similar to the US (94% YouTube, 67% web & app video, 50% display).

In the Asia-Pacific region, Pakistan and Thailand saw the highest rates for display (both 62%) while Australia performed strongly for web & app video ad viewability (77%).

Viewability by Content Category

The context of the ad also has a significant impact on the viewability.

The category with the strongest performance for video ads was Games (82%), with the lowest rates seen for Computers & Electronics (58%) and Home & Garden (50%) content.

Larger Video Players Drive Higher Viewability

Google’s findings show that size matters. For video ads, players at 2560 x 1440 in size achieved the highest viewability rates, of 95%. By contrast, when players were the smaller 854 x 480 size, viewability averaged 88%.

For display ads, vertical units performed better on average. As an example, those measuring 120 x 600 had a viewability rate of 56%, compared to those at 320 x 100 with a rate of 47%.

The results from Google can be viewed here.

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