How To Improve Viewability

Kate Laing How-To

Viewability is a hot topic for every publisher as it’s a key metric for improving your ad revenue and maximizing the content that you work so hard to produce for your audience. So what exactly does ‘viewability’ mean, why is it important, and more critically, how do you improve it?
Let’s dig in.

What is ‘viewability’ and why is it important?

Viewability for display refers to how well the advertising slots on your webpage are able to be seen by readers on the page — and is considered a binary measurement (either yes or no) of whether or not at least 50% of the ad was on screen for at least one second.  Therefore, a highly viewable ad is one that can be seen for longer lengths of time. For a brand considering whether to part with their hard-earned marketing dollars, there are few more important things! Because what they’re paying for is for real, human eyeballs on their advertisements — and hopefully, a click or two. That’s how marketers measure performance: how many people are interacting with their brand? Your job as a publisher is to make sure that the ad is viewable; their job as a marketer is to make sure the ad is clicked on.

Since you, as a publisher, won’t have any insights into how these campaigns are performing for brands, the best thing you can do is optimize your page for the metrics you have control over, such as viewability, improving your site traffic, and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). These are some of the most important things you can work on to improve the value of your inventory to advertisers, and therefore your ad revenue.

So how do I improve viewability on my page?

We’re glad you asked! Let’s take a look at some of the best solutions we have for increasing ad viewability on your page:

  • Build a layout centred around your user’s experience

    Advertisements that are disruptive, or take up too much space on the page can encourage a reader to leave the page and therefore not spend time interacting with ads there. In this sense, consider optimizing your ad layout for both desktop and mobile users. The amount of real estate on the page is quite different for users on a desktop and users who are visiting from a tablet or mobile phone and so the ad layouts for each situation should reflect that to maximize viewability.

    Another thing is to consider which kinds of ad formats you’re using. Native ad formats mimic the look and feel of the existing content on the page, making them less disruptive and therefore more viewable by readers.

    Lastly, consider metrics like load time on your page when it comes to user experience. Longer articles with a higher ad density can take time to load, so employing a solution like Lazy Loading can improve the user experience and maximize viewability all at the same time. You can also minimize ad fatigue by employing Sortable’s Managed Refresh solution which causes a viewable ad to refresh with another ad placement after a designated amount of time — usually about thirty seconds. This allows you to maximize viewability and boost your website monetization without increasing ad density which can negatively impact your user experience.


Are you finding this content helpful? Want to make sure you don’t miss another helpful update? Make sure you sign up for our newsletter where we keep you up to date with the newest content including tips, trends, and industry news!


  • Place highly visible ads throughout the pages where the content people want to see is located

    This may seem straightforward, but taking into account areas of the page where users may stop to spend a little bit more time — an informative infographic, or a photo they want to explore a little bit more closely, perhaps — can have a significant impact on your viewability as well as your user experience. These are great areas to create a layout that will have ads on the periphery! The ads are still viewable while the user is digesting the content you’ve worked so hard on providing them, maximizing viewability and your ad revenue.
    Sticky and anchor units are both great, highly visible ad formats you should make sure you’re using in order to optimize your ad layout and maximize viewability. Not only are they highly visible, but they also minimize disruption for your reader as they’re on the periphery of your content.

  • Continuously monitor your page and ad slot performance

    Our previous two points only work if you’re consistently in-the-know about how your pages are performing, how effective your content is, and how each individual ad slot is affecting your revenue. So a continuous strategy for monitoring key performance indicators (KPI) like ad slot revenue, site traffic, bounce rate, and page loading time is absolutely crucial for success.

    Specifically, keep looking at which of your ad formats are performing well and which ones aren’t. If you’ve got a display ad that isn’t performing well, consider a video ad format, or switching to a native format. This is why the Sortable Analytics platform is one of the most important tools in a publishers toolbox — because it gives you ad slot level data!

For more expertise on which ad formats might work better for your site, how to optimize your layout for viewability, or how to get the most out of your own data via the Sortable Analytics platform make sure to get in touch with our Customer Success team at success@sortable.com — or check out some of our webinars.

Not already working with Sortable? No problem. Get a free demonstration of how it all works so we can answer any and all of your questions.