Google Claims YouTube Ads More Viewable Than Standard Video Ads

GoogJust over half (54%) of all video ads across the web are viewable compared to YouTube’s 91% average viewability rate, according to a Google report released Friday.

It’s not surprising Google is releasing video viewability figures, given its investment in TrueView formats for brand advertisers, which are sold on a cost-per-view basis.

Google claims it had solid representation of site impressions outside of its own media, though YouTube’s figures factored in mobile in-app views, while non-Google ads did not since it didn’t have the necessary SDK app integrations to enable this measurement.

Google says it is working on extending viewability into mobile apps across the DoubleClick stack, which will culminate in a solution geared toward gauging in-app mobile viewability later this year, said Sanaz Ahari, group product manager for brand measurement.

She said the MRC’s newly issued interim guidance for Mobile Viewable Impression Measurement should help further the cause industrywide.

Ahari said the report measured pre-, mid- and post-roll ads served in Google’s own media and across DoubleClick (including Bid Manager, Campaign Manager and DoubleClick for Publishers).

The findings were based on Google Active View measurements representing “hundreds of billions of impressions” on and off YouTube across desktop, mobile web and tablet throughout the month of April. 

It found that player size, location, device type and audibility played key roles in the ability for a video ad to be classified as viewable.

Google’s report adhered to the Media Rating Council standard for video viewability, which is at least 50% of an ad’s pixels are visible on-screen for a minimum of two consecutive seconds.

Many of Google’s findings were fairly instinctual, such that 76% of non-viewable ads ran in a background tab or never appeared on-screen. About 24% were abandoned in less than two seconds or when the user scrolled off-screen.

“Larger players tended to have better viewability,” Ahari said, “and we also found sites that were designed for the video experience front and center, rather than making a secondary experience where video is one among many things on a page, tended to perform better.”

Unsurprisingly, viewability rates for mobile web both on smartphones and tablets were high. People generally use their tablets to consume media in a lean-back manner and mobile screens are optimized for that.

While Google claimed YouTube inventory was close to equally viewable on mobile devices (94%) as on desktop (87%), viewability for non-YouTube video inventory on desktop was 53%, while non-YouTube mobile and tablet inventory rose to 83% and 81%, respectively.

Google also recently began to measure video ad audibility. It measured via a control group the effectiveness of an ad for brand lift based on ad recall for videos playing with the sound on and off. For users exposed to YouTube ads that were heard, but not seen, it claimed there was 33.1% higher ad recall than those who weren’t exposed to the ad in the first place.

Naturally, there was “greater lift when you have full sight, sound and motion, but it was encouraging that there was still effectiveness in recall when the consumer was able to hear, but not see it,” Ahari said. “This is just like the premise of radio ads, which are heard but not seen, so it reiterates that simple concept for video with real data.”

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  1. Hi,

    This makes partial sense as viewers visit Youtube mainly to watch video, hence the viewability factor is high. From your article research, would you have figures how many ads that are skippable have been skipped on Youtube? This will give valuable insights for marketers.

    Just to compare apples to apples, with this research do you have the statistical breakdown for video ads where they actually ran? Were they ran in the environment of streaming mrec on site pages? Pure video player on Catch-Up video? Short form video on news articles? etc etc…

    It will be meaningful to evaluate viewability numbers on Youtube and other pure play video environment in the likes of catch-up TV, movies and so on where viewers’ pure intention is to watch video.

    Comparing Youtube to streaming video on mrec for an example is merely like comparing the speed between a cyclist on a bicycle and a driver in a high performance car.

    The generalisation of only 54% viewability outside of Youtube doesn’t give any insights to marketers, with the exception to suggest sending marketing budget to Youtube.

  2. GoogleisEvil

    If Youtube is honest… they should support VPaid and not VAST.. if they were Vpaid.. I wonder what viewability 3rd parties would measure. A own google standaard is not objective enough…