DoubleClick has released a report on video-ad viewability for 2017, registering a massive disparity between YouTube and other sites’ figures. Their research, using Google’s Active View measurement technology, found that 95 percent of ads on YouTube were “viewable,” while only 66 percent of ads on other platforms met the same requirements.
Their study uses the Interactive Advertising Bureau and Media Rating Council’s definition of “viewable,” which requires at least half of the ad to be in view for at least two continuous seconds. Ads playing on separate tabs or ones that the user scrolled past too quickly were not counted.
Their data also found that desktops offered significantly lower rates than mobile and tablets for all sites and apps, including YouTube. On average, desktop viewability was 5 points behind other platforms for YouTube and 11 points behind for the rest of the web.
Although the figures look low, DoubleClick’s viewability figures have been trending modestly upward, increasing 10 percent over the last three years. YouTube’s own metrics have gone up, too: DoubleClick claims that only 93% of ads on the video platform were viewable last year.
Breaking up the data by region, DoubleClick’s report found that consumers in France, South Africa and Hong Kong were the savviest at avoiding video ads, reporting viewability figures of 59, 59 and 57 percent, respectively.
Google’s report does not offer analysis of its findings, but the ready availability of tabbed browsing and prevalence of inconspicuous autoplay ads likely explain the marked difference between desktop and mobile platforms, and YouTube’s shift to six-second ads makes consumers less likely to switch tabs to avoid messaging.
Despite recent controversies around brand safety and anti-competitive behavior, YouTube’s impressive viewability statistics may bring advertisers, perhaps reluctantly, back into the fold. Earning $26 billion in ad sales in the second quarter 2017, Alphabet is still the industry leader for digital advertising: many brands simply may not have a choice.