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Active View is a measuring instrument in online marketing to measure the visibility of advertisements. If ads are delivered via Google Publisher tags (GPT for short), Active View is included automatically.
Active View is used to answer two questions:
- What percentage of the ad is visible to the customer?
- In what time period was the advertisement visible?
Active View is interesting for both publishers and advertisers. For the advertiser, it serves as a measuring instrument to work out the probability of the advertisement actually being perceived by the customer. Website owners can see if and to what extent the number of clicks can be increased.
New key figures since 2015
The definition of when an advertisement is visible (i.e. 50 percent visibility of the area with an insertion of at least one second) was defined by the "Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB)", i.e. the umbrella organisation of advertising providers. In 2015, AdSense introduced new metrics without prior notice as part of the transition to Active View performance reporting. These are said to have a clear influence on the performance of customers.
As mentioned above, both advertisers and publishers want information about how good the chances are of being noticed by website visitors. The higher the visibility, the more valuable the impression. Especially those who generate income via the so-called CPM model or via click numbers are particularly interested in visibility, because these are expected by advertisers as a prerequisite for a booking. Banner places that are badly placed thus lose performance.
AdSense was lagging behind in Active Views for a long time, so it was only logical to take the step most ad servers had already taken.
Example of Active View reporting with Google Publisher Tags (GPTs)
Google uses an example to demonstrate the issue of ad visibility:
If a placement is at the bottom of a website, depending on the screen size, the user may only be able to see the display if they scroll down. The user therefore might not see the ad at all, as the user may bounce before the ad becomes visible to them. No matter whether the user has seen it or not, it still counts as an impression. However, this does not indicate whether a user has actually seen a placement.
Google reacted to this problem by changing the measured value "Active Ad Server Impressions in Active View" on 2 March 2017. Instead of counting the delivered impressions, now, only the downloaded impressions are counted. This change was introduced to arrive at a match between the measured visibility values of third-party suppliers. Google distinguishes between four approaches:
- Active Active View impressions: This is the total number of impressions that can be measured.
- Impressions measurable with Active View: This is composed of impressions that have been measured and their relationship to all possible impressions. The optimal value here is the one that comes closest to 100 percent.
- Impressions measured and visible with Active View: This refers to the number of visible impressions of a website that result from the measurable impressions. A display is considered visible if it corresponds to the IAB specifications described above, i.e. is displayed for at least 50 percent and not less than one second.
- Percentage share of the share measured in Active View: This is the percentage of impressions measured by Active View. This can be represented with this formula:
(Measurable impressions ÷ Active impressions) x 100
A display is considered measurable if a tag that is compatible with Active View was able to capture the visibility information for an impression.
In addition, a slightly different default applies to in-stream video displays, since the known 50 percent of the display must be visible for at least two seconds.
The Benefits of Active View
The main problem with online ads was that there was no guarantee they would be seen. Depending on screen size and other factors, there was always uncertainty as to whether the visibility of impressions was given or not. The fact that a banner appears in the advertiser's statistics, even if it was not even seen by the user, noticeably reduced the efficiency of advertisements. With Active View it is possible to recognize visible ads and bids for display campaigns can be submitted to Google via CPM.
Significance for online marketing
AdSense users and advertisers in particular have seen improvements since the introduction of Active View. The value of an impression now increases when as many site visitors as possible have actually seen it. This also applies to website operators who charge per CPC (i.e. cost per click). Marketing campaigns can be difficult to plan when it is not possible to know whether an advert is visible or not. Active View is therefore a significant improvement here.