Google Says, 76% Of Video Ads Are Never Seen: YouTube Performs Best On Mobile [REPORT]

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In April 2015, Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOGL) researched its own video advertising platforms, including Google, DoubleClick, and YouTube, in order to compare video ad viewability on YouTube and across the web. For the study, Google used 2 sets of data pulled using its Active View measurement technology for the period to compare the video viewability data across the web (not including YouTube) and viewability data exclusively for YouTube.

Here is a short summary of the findings from the study conducted by Google:

  • With 91% average video ad viewability, YouTube scores better than other platforms across the web.
  • The video ad viewability significantly rises on Mobile and Tablet devices.
  • 76% of non-viewable ads run in the background tab or never seen at all while 24% are abandoned or scrolled off-screen within 2 seconds.
  • Large video players found on video-specific platforms like YouTube reap in higher viewability compared to the ones used across the web.
  • Ad positioning is the key as horizontal and vertical position of the ad determines if the ad will be viewable or not.
Video Ad Performance - YouTube vs Across The Web
Video Ad Performance – YouTube vs Across The Web

Although, the figures show that YouTube serves as the best platform for video ads in terms of viewability, the numbers could be deceiving as Mobile video app data across the web is not available and is not included in the analysis, while YouTube mobile in-app ads are taken into consideration while assessing the data. Considering the boost in the Smartphone users across the globe and rise in the mobile internet usage in the world, if mobile video app data across the web was also included in the study, the performance of video ad viewability would have been a bit too closer to that of YouTube data, if not better.


Irrespective of the global findings, the viewability factor performed very differently based on the country demographics. Video ads across the web (not including YouTube) were viewed well in countries other than the United States while the viewability of YouTube video ad remained almost similar across different countries between 88% -91%.

Scope of Investment in Video Ads

As per the another study concluded in 2013, advertisers invested a whopping $5.6 billion on YouTube alone. The numbers have since being on a rise as most of the advertisers are aware of the fact that YouTube video has the power to influence 64% consumers to make purchases. Such an influence is not limited to videos on YouTube alone.

Online videos can be highly interactive and could engage with people more effectively using the visual and verbal medium. According to an Infographic, by QuickSprout published in January 2014, an online video can improve the consumer’s understanding about the brands and its products by 74%. Hence, viewability factor of video ad becomes vital for advertisers as the influence factor wouldn’t come into play if the ads are not seen by the user.

Irrespective of the fact that viewability plays a significant role in the success of a video ad, 33.1% users who heard but didn’t see a YouTube ad had a better recall of the brand compared to those who didn’t experience the ad at all as per the study.

Besides the platform, a lot depends upon the player size for the video ad. According to the Google study, ad sizes with a resolution of 848×477, 640×390 and 1280×720 offers the best viewability. On the other hand, one of the highly popular ad slot for banner ads, 300×250 ranks last with least viewability. In short, to get a better ROI on video ads, brands should focus on platforms that offer bigger, larger ad slots.

Video Ad Performance By Player Size
Video Ad Performance By Player Size

Brands have used the visual media to advertise their products or brand since the evolution of Television and Cable TV network. These brands know for a fact that visual ads can be more interesting and engaging for the users compared to print or banner ads. Today TV ads are slowly being replaced by digital video ads as the response online is rising day by day. Also, the cost of buying a digital video ad is comparatively lower than the cost of advertisements on TV.

While advertising on TV is all about timing the ad sequence, advertising on digital media or web space is all about placement or location of the ad. At times, if the brands fail to position their ad at a perfect location, they can miss out huge on their ROI whereas it can yield extraordinary results for single ad campaign if the ad is positioned perfectly on the page. According to the research by Google, the center portion of the page offers the best viewability horizontally while the top portion of the page scores vertically. Hence, “Top Center” location of a page offers highest viewability compared to any other location on the page.

Video Ad Performance by Ad Position
Video Ad Performance by Ad Position

Tips for Advertisers on Video Ads:

  • Each impression counts if you wish to generate high viewability rates.
  • Brand advertisers should look for sites with high viewability to seek high viewable video ad impressions.
  • The larger the video ad size, the higher are the chances for the ad to be noticed. Advertisers should invest highly on improving the ad size in order to generate better viewability.
  • Ad position is the key as positioning of video ads both vertically and horizontally will decide the viewability of the video ads.
  • Although, 300×250 ad slot is highly popular, advertisers must shy away from this ad size for video ads given the fact that how poor the viewability is for small ad slots.


  1. Marketers and advertisers are blindly following the video content trend and pumping in advertising dollars without realising what ROI they are getting and how much they have missed…..Current Video content marketing strategies reminds me of teen age sex: everyone wants to do it but no one knows how to do it…. what say Subham Bapna Chetan Vashistth Ashvini Kumar Saxena Ram Mannepalli Rajeesh Nair Sarvesh Srivastava


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