Last Thursday, Google announced that they’re offering another new feature for display advertisers. In addition to the recent “Display Select” option they’re now offering the opportunity to bid on display ads based on how “viewable” they are. This is another admission by Google that there are plenty of improvements to be made to their extended network ad offerings.


Far from just being a new metric that Google invented to market their new bidding method, viewability is a movement in the online marketing space. The commonly accepted definition of a “viewable impression” is that at least half of your ad is visible on the page to a user for at least one second. That may seem like a no brainer, but according to this comScore report less than half of all display ads meet that criteria. That means that advertisers have often been paying for nothing when running display advertising.

Though Google received Media Ratings Council certification approval in April of this year, the MRC was advising display ad providers not to charge based on the viewabilty standard as late as June. Now, though, it seems like Google is ready to act on that certification. This move will hopefully cause other advertising firms to follow suit. They’re using an internal solution called Active View to try and increase viewability for interested advertisers (and they should all be interested). The option for this can be found in the Campaign Settings tab under Bid Strategy.

Viewable CPM Setting
This setting is only available for Display Network Only campaigns.

I’d highly recommend that anyone advertising on Google’s display network take some time to try out this new setting, but always remember to test appropriately. It’s likely that you’ll see a higher CPM as people compete to make sure their display ads are seen, but it’s equally likely that the increase in visibility will lead to an increase in clicks. It’ll come down to proper metrics to make sure the extra cost is worth the price.