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Big billboard display ads rank highest for viewability on desktops, according to data from SaaS analytics company Moat Analytics. The research represents impressions measured by Moat and found that 970x250 ads, including in-browser banners, rich media and IAB Rising Star units, had the highest in-view rate out of desktop display ads studied worldwide during Q3 2014, at 65.8%.
While the wide ads landed at the top for in-view rate—the percentage of impressions where at least 50% of an ad was actively in-view for at least 1 continuous second—vertical ads gave the rest of the horizontal ad formats a run for their money. Average in-view rate for second-place 300x600 desktop display ads was 62.1%, and this came in at 55.0% for No. 3 160x600 placements. Due to their longer length, 300x600 and 160x600 ads also saw the highest in-view time, coming in at 21.8 seconds and 21.6 seconds, respectively. In comparison, 970x250 ads were in-view for an average 16.1 seconds—the lowest out of all sizes studied.
Screenwide display ads on mobile, too, were tops for viewability, with in-view rate for 320x50 placements coming in at 64.6%—nearly 18 percentage points above average. Next came vertical 300x600 ads, which had an average in-view rate of 51.4%; 728x90 leaderboards were close behind, though, at 51.1%. Just like with desktop, vertical mobile display ads had the longest in-view time: 18.6 seconds for 160x600 placements and 18.0 for 300x600 ads.
Looking at in-browser desktop and mobile display ads served by Google Display Network and DoubleClick in July 2014, Google found vertical units were consistently the most viewable. Worldwide, 120x240 placements performed the best for viewability, with a rate of 55.6%. Units that were 240x400, 160x600 and 120x600 rounded out the top four. Meanwhile, 234x60 ads had the highest viewability rate among horizontal placement sizes; 300x250, a popular ad size, landed in last.
A variety of factors such as the types of publisher sites audited as well as the overall makeup of ad formats considered (e.g., banners vs. rich media vs. Rising Stars) are likely causes for varying viewability percentages between the two sources.
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