Top Viewability Tips to Keep Mobile Developers and Publishers Ahead of the Curve
If you’re an advertiser, an app developer, or a publisher, you know that viewability became a hot topic over the past few months. So what exactly is a viewable impression? And what does this new focus on viewability mean for people who earn revenue from mobile advertising?
The Media Rating Council (MRC) provides industry guidance and definition around what a viewable impression is. According to the MRC, “a served ad impression can be classified as a viewable impression if the ad was contained in the viewable space of the browser window, on an in-focus browser tab, based on pre-established criteria such as the percent of ad pixels within the viewable space and the length of time the ad is in the viewable space of the browser. It is recognized that an ‘opportunity to see’ the ad exists with a viewable ad impression, which may or may not be the case with a served ad impression.”
Viewability should be differentiated from ad fraud, as it concerns ads that don’t load properly or fall on an area of the screen less likely to be viewed by a user. Ad fraud refers to bots that defraud advertisers by generating false ad views, clicks, and site visits using robotic programs.
But one thing is safe to say: advertisers’ expectations are changing, and the industry is moving toward a standard of payment for viewable impressions. Based on the interim guidance released by the Media Ratings Council on May 4, the MRC defines a mobile ad as viewable if a minimum of 50% of the pixels are in view for at least one second. This guidance applies to mobile ads served in a web browser or in-app.
So what does this mean to app developers and publishers? Viewable impressions will begin to affect to revenue, so publishers and developers must start paying attention now. I’d like to offer up some tips to get you ahead of the viewability curve.
- Use fragments rather than activities for Android apps. Many fragments can live inside an activity. A single ad view can stand in front of content more easily than it would in front of these fragments. Apps with low viewability scores often use activities exclusively and generating new banners on these activities substantially exaggerates an ad's refresh rate. By pairing ads with an activity and putting content in fragments, the side effects of the activity lifecycle can be minimized.
- Use one Placement ID (“APID”) per screen. When an application (or site) has a single ad placement per screen, it will segment out the viewability of each screen/page so the publisher is fully aware how each ad placement affects their score. It will also show the developers a true CTR/CVR per page to select the best placements for each ad. This method can tell you what users do within your property, like which placements are highly viewable and which areas are stepping stones to more content.
- Don't predict the user's path. Only load banner ads on a screen where a user is present. While preloading an on screen may seem like a visual enhancement, it can just as easily drag down ad viewability. Along these same lines, it's important to disable any refresh timers when the ad is no longer visible for any reason.
- Avoid below the fold banners. Where possible implement a persistent bottom banner. This will ensure the ad remains visible as the user navigates content.
The viewability landscape changes rapidly, and new standards will likely emerge for mobile advertising. As advertisers demand a higher standard, publishers and developers must accommodate the desire for viewable impressions, or risk losing valuable advertising dollars.
More from Heather Hromoho
Millennial Media is the leading mobile ad marketplace, making mobile simple for the world’s top brands, app developers, and mobile web publishers. The company's data and technology assets enable advertisers to connect with target audiences at scale, while driving monetization for publisher and developer partners. AOL acquired Millennial Media on October 23, 2015. Millennial Media boosts AOL's global, mobile capabilities and scale across ONE by AOL for advertisers and agencies, and offers the most attractive monetization platform for app developers.