Definition of Viewability

Viewability is a digital marketing metric that evaluates the visibility of an advertisement on a webpage or app. It measures the extent to which an ad is actually seen by a user, considering factors like the ad’s placement, size, and the user’s scrolling behavior. This metric is crucial for advertisers to ensure their ads are effectively reaching their target audience and not just being loaded on the screen without being noticed.


The phonetics of the keyword “Viewability” can be represented as: / viːwəˈbɪlɪti /

Key Takeaways

  1. Viewability is a key metric in digital advertising, measuring whether an ad has the opportunity to be seen by users.
  2. It is determined by two main criteria: the ad’s visibility on the screen (usually at least 50% of the ad must be visible) and the time it stays in view (commonly at least one continuous second).
  3. Improving viewability can lead to increased user engagement, better ad performance, and higher ROI for advertisers.

Importance of Viewability

Viewability is important in digital marketing as it refers to the measure of whether an online advertisement is visible and potentially impactful for users.

As a key performance indicator, advertisers seek to optimize viewability to ensure that their ads are actually seen by the intended audience.

It has a direct correlation with brand exposure and return on advertising investment, thus playing a critical role in marketing effectiveness.

By focusing on viewability, marketers can improve their campaign results and minimize wasted ad spend, contributing to a more efficient and targeted approach in digital advertising.


Viewability is a critical aspect of digital marketing that revolves around the actual visibility of an advertisement displayed on a user’s screen. Its purpose is to measure and ensure that ads have the opportunity to be seen by users, rather than merely being served without any visibility. In other words, viewability serves as a metric that quantifies whether digital ads are placed optimally on websites and apps to garner attention and engagement from the target audience.

This concept is especially relevant in the world of programmatic advertising, where ads placements are selected and purchased automatically within milliseconds, making it essential to gauge their effectiveness from a visibility perspective. The role of viewability in digital marketing is crucial for advertisers and publishers alike, as it directly impacts the revenue generated from online ads and the effectiveness of marketing campaigns. For advertisers, focusing on viewability ensures their ads are served and placed in a manner that maximizes the likelihood of consumer engagement with their brand messages.

Consequently, a higher viewability translates to better brand exposure and a higher potential for conversions. On the other hand, for publishers, ensuring their platform’s ad viewability contributes to their attractiveness for advertisers, who will be more likely to invest in ad inventory that has a higher probability of being seen. The emphasis on viewability drives the industry’s standards higher, optimizing the ad experience for users through more engaging content and better ad placements, leading to a win-win situation for all parties involved in digital marketing.

Examples of Viewability

Viewability is a digital marketing term that refers to the visibility of an online advertisement, specifically whether it can be seen by a user or not. The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) states that a display ad is considered viewable if 50% of its pixels are in view for at least one second, while video ads need to be visible for at least two seconds. Here are three real-world examples of viewability:

Banner Advertisements on Websites: A banner ad on a news website or blog might be placed at the top, middle, or bottom of the webpage. If the ad is placed at the top and a user opens the website but doesn’t scroll down, the ad has high viewability because it’s immediately seen by the user. However, if the ad is placed below the fold (at the bottom or middle), the user may not scroll far enough to see it, leading to lower viewability.

Video Ads in Mobile Apps: While playing a game or using a mobile app, a user might be interrupted with a video ad. Depending on the app design, some users may be able to see the whole video, while others might try to close the ad immediately or avoid watching it entirely. To improve viewability, developers can choose to make the video ad playable only when a user reaches a certain level of game completion or engage with specific app features, ensuring that the ad is in view for the required two seconds.

Social Media Sponsored Ads: On social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, sponsored posts or ads are displayed within a user’s feed. The viewability of such ads depends on how quickly users scroll through their feeds and the platform’s algorithm. If the ad appears prominently in a user’s feed, and they take the time to read or interact with it, the ad has high viewability. However, if the user scrolls past it quickly or the platform’s algorithm doesn’t prioritize the ad, its viewability decreases. Social media platforms have taken steps to improve ad placements and targeting to increase viewability rates for advertisers.

Viewability FAQ

What is Viewability?

Viewability is a metrics that evaluates whether an advertisement is visible to a user on the screen. It is used to determine the effectiveness and value of an advertisement based on its visibility.

Why is Viewability important?

Viewability is important because it helps advertisers and marketers to understand which ads are being seen by users and, therefore, are more likely to have an impact on user engagement and brand awareness. By measuring viewability, advertisers can optimize their campaigns and ensure their ads are getting sufficient exposure and they are not wasting their resources targeting ads that are not being seen.

How is Viewability measured?

Viewability is measured by tracking pixels or other technologies that can determine if an ad is in view on the user’s screen. The Media Rating Council (MRC) and the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) have established a standard for measuring viewability, stating that at least 50% of an ad’s pixels must be visible on the screen for at least one continuous second for display ads, and two continuous seconds for video ads.

What factors affect Viewability?

Several factors can affect viewability, including the placement of the ad on a web page, the size and format of the ad, page loading speed, and user behavior, such as scrolling or navigating away from the page. To improve viewability, advertisers can optimize their ad placements, use engaging and mobile-friendly ad formats, or work with publishers to ensure their ads are well-positioned for visibility.

What are some common Viewability benchmarks?

Common viewability benchmarks vary across industries and platforms but generally, a viewability rate of 50% or higher is considered good. However, advertisers should aim for higher viewability rates to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their ad campaigns. The MRC and IAB guidelines are a helpful reference for setting benchmarks and evaluating the success of an ad campaign.

Related Digital Marketing Terms

  • Impression Measurement
  • Ad Visibility
  • Active View Metrics
  • Viewable Impressions
  • Percent In-View

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