Are Your Show’s Online Ads Being Seen?

If you buy online ads, you should certainly take a look at the 2012 Adsafe Semiannual Review, which covers the first two quarters of this year. Failure to factor in these findings could result in wasted ad dollars for your show.

Adsafe reveals that even less ads are in-view* than the comScore study I discussed in my post earlier this year. It is important to note that just because an ad is technically served, it does not mean that the ad was seen by a person. Why? A web site visitor can scroll past the ad before it tloads or never scroll to the area of the page where the ad is.

In addition to highlighting the overall point that many ads are never seen by web visitors, I want to focus on one of Adsafe’s more granular findings: ad unit size and orientation directly affect viewability. They found that the more vertical the ad unit, the higher the visibility—so the wide skyscraper (160 x 600) had the best viewbaility, the medium rectangle (300 x 250) had the second-best visibility, and the leaderboard (728 x 90) came in third place.

Here are Adsafe’s in-view findings for these common IAB ad units:

728 x 90 – 36.1 percent
300 x 250 – 38.4 percent
160 x 600 – 53.1 percent

Performance of ad campaigns starts with viewability (i.e. if it can’t be viewed, nothing else is going to happen), so it is essential that you understand this data set and how different creative sizes and other variables affect performance of your ads if you want to maximize results.

Though one ad unit may have better visibility than another, ad pricing can balance out these differences, and if the less visible unit is priced attractively enough, it may even be more competitive. That is why having solid performance data is so important. Without it, you simply won’t know what ad unit/price scenarios are best for your show.

* At least 50 percent of the advertisement must be viewable for at least 1 second in order to be considered in-view.

Cristopher Levy is managing partner of
Encore Media Partners. Encore is an audience strategy, marketing and media buying agency covering traditional, digital and mobile platforms,which specializes in local, national and global trade and consumer shows, exhibitions and conferences. Reach him at