YouTube, Facebook open up ad viewability

Responding to advertiser demand, both YouTube and Facebook are introducing third party verification of ad viewability on their platforms.

Facebook has announced a partnership with independent ad analytics company Moat. Moat will verify video ad viewability, and eventually viewability for other News Feed ad units as well as Instagram ads.


The Financial Times reports that YouTube will begin allowing third-party verification by the end of the year, after pressure from major advertisers Unilever and Kellogg’s.

Both YouTube and Facebook have, until now, used their own software to measure viewability rates.

While Google has said that only half the online video ads across the Web are actually viewable, the company has claimed 91 percent of YouTube ads to be viewable.

For an ad to be considered viewable, according to the industry standard, at least 50 percent of the ad’s pixels must be visible for at least two consecutive seconds.

Some argue that the MRC standard is too lenient. For those advertisers, Facebook is also offering a new option to purchase 100 percent in view ads. Advertisers who take up the offer will only pay when the entire ad (from top to bottom) has passed through the viewer’s screen in News Feed, but there’s no minimum viewing time requirement.

Why should you care?

Understandably, advertisers don’t want to pay for ad impressions nobody sees. While overdue, it can only be a good thing that both companies are now enabling independent verification.

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About the Author Jeremy Templer

Jeremy is a Partner and Senior Consultant at SureFire. Jeremy has been working in search since 1996, when he joined the Australian search engine, LookSmart. After relocating to San Francisco, he was instrumental in the development of the company’s paid search ad platform. At analytics company Coremetrics (now owned by IBM) he established an in-house search agency managing campaigns for Coremetrics clients such as Macy’s, Bass Pro and Lands End. At Acxiom he managed members of the pioneering SEO firm Marketleap and worked with clients such as Capital One, American General Finance and Kaiser Health. Joining SureFire in 2009, he is the head of Paid Search Advertising and oversees the delivery of AdWords and other PPC campaigns. He also helps clients make sense of their website data.