Ad View

Ad views denotes the number of views an ad gets when a website or web application is loaded by the user’s device. An ad view is counted when the advertising medium is delivered in the content of the website and the user gets to see it. The ad server, which handles ad delivery, also collects statistics on the total of all visual contacts per advertising medium. Ad view is synonymous with ad impression, but it is used less frequently. The term ad impressions prevailed. The calculation basis is the same. User access to an advertising medium is recorded. If several ads are integrated into one advertising medium, several ad views will be recorded per site. Ad views or ad impressions are also used as a basis for other KPIs in online advertising - for example, in the case of CPM or the eCPM.

General information

The viewing of an ad by a user is considered as one of the most important characteristics in online marketing. Based on the visual contact with a display ad in the print area, the process can easily be transferred to digital media. Once a user sees an advertisement, the system that delivered the ad (ad server) receives a response from the device displaying the ad (client). This is usually done via a counting pixel, which is downloaded by the user upon accessing the website. You can have two or more ad views on one website if it integrated multiple ads. The user accessed only one website, but sees several ads. Each visual contact with an ad is equivalent to an ad view, regardless of whether the user is viewing only one website.

In most cases, ad views are used for large campaigns, and are extrapolated with CPM or eCPM to control advertising costs and revenue. Websites that offer their advertising space for sale often provide a maximum limit of views or impressions. However, the mere view does not tell you how long the user viewed the ad or whether the ad has resulted in a conversion or lead. Ad views must therefore be distinguished from action-based billing models such as Pay Per Lead, Ad Clicks or Cost Per Action. Ad views reflect only the visual contacts with an ad, but not the overall advertising effectiveness.

How it works

Ad views are the measurement of visual contact with an ad and thus the opposite of ad clicks, which are defined as clicks on advertisements. Since bookings in online advertising are often pre-paid, ad views are often used only for large campaigns. Advertisers and marketers agree on a billing model and estimate the reach of a campaign based on various criteria. If a website has a certain number of calls and users per month, the total of ad views or ad impression can be determined in advance. This value is usually inaccurate, but binding for the contract partners.

Once a campaign has started, the actual values ​​are collected by the ad server. The booked ads will be displayed up to the agreed quota of ad views. Once the maximum limit is reached, the campaign is terminated. However, payment is usually done in advance. Since the advertising budget is well-distributed by this mechanism, ad views are often used in the marketing mix. This billing model creates planning security for both parties. However, based on experience, the advertisement wastage of such campaigns is very high. That is why ad view billing is not appropriate for small banner campaigns, but more suitable for large advertising campaigns, which are subject to a certain amount of wastage.

Websites, forums, and niche sites which cover a specific topic area are excluded from this problem. Wastage is reduced and sometimes offset in this case by relevance. The same applies to branding campaigns and new product innovations, which are initially concerned with attention and brand awareness. If the ad view model is chosen, the advertising effectiveness can be significantly increased by the quality of the ad, its environment, and high relevance to the topic. Which billing model appears to be appropriate therefore depends on different factors and cannot be answered on a general basis.

Relevance to online marketing

The principle of ad views or ad impressions is not only applied in online advertising to increase reach, but also in the web analysis. This is because a view can be abstractly defined as a view of a medium. Whether an ad or a file stored on a server is being referred to is initially irrelevant. However, to what extent a view can be regarded as an interaction or a relevant measured value is highly controversial in the advertising sector. With ever-changing output formats, user devices and billing models, there are a variety of difficulties with the performance measurement of campaigns and ads. This is particularly evident in mobile marketing and video marketing. An ad view can occur accidentally on a mobile device and a video that has started begins to count as a real interaction only after a certain playing time.

The limits for such advertisement waste and what the KPIs would be, has been discussed for some time now under the term “viewability.”[1] The fact that ad views should not be regarded as a metric for real interaction or advertising is, however, hardly controversial. Many marketers therefore offer a set of various billing models for different scenarios. Ad views are only a possible option to increase reach or to deliver ads in relevant media.


  1. What Counts as an Online Ad View? A Standard Is Nearing, but the Fight's Not Over Accessed on 09/06/2016

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