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  • Ron Jaworski

How audio helps increase ad viewability

Whether consciously or unconsciously, there’s no denying that visitors ignore certain page elements they perceive to be ads. They do it without discrimination on mobile and desktop, whether due to the ad’s location, visual appeal, style, perceived usefulness, etc.


Combating this selective attention known as banner blindness often includes a gamut of methods and tactics that ultimately don’t guarantee success. In most cases, the best they can do is lower the probability of someone turning away from an ad.


So what’s audio, aka stuff that goes through our eardrums, got to do with viewability, aka stuff that goes via our eyeballs?


If the premise above sounds like selling snake oil, hold your horses.


In no way can audio content prevent banner blindness and the resulting loss of ad revenues. What it can do is boost the bottom line by helping combine the best of audio and display advertising.


A whole new viewability standard


When it comes to ad viewability, the widely accepted standard from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and the Media Ratings Council (MRC) mandates that an impression is considered viewable if:


  • 50% of the ad is visible for at least 1 second for display ads

  • 50% of the ad is visible for at least 2 seconds for video ads


The average ad viewability typically hovers around the 70% mark, with the first half of 2022 seeing display ad viewability at 71.5% for desktop display and 66.9% for mobile web display on a global level.


Viewability has a direct impact on ad revenue in a seemingly never-ending cycle. Publishers continue looking for ways to ensure the ads they’re placing are being seen by visitors, while advertisers try to make sure they get the most bang for their buck.


So where does audio step in?


In a completely new segment that ensures maximum ad visibility with a branded audio player.



Publishers are doubling down on audio, leading the adoption of audio AI technology to supplement their textual content with a listening experience. An audio player, like the one at the top of this post, is an integral part of this strategy, delivering a better user experience for a growing army of listeners.


Simply put, publishers are following where the audiences are these days and providing a finer value proposition. In doing so, ideally, they also want to take their monetization tactics up a notch and maximize revenue.


So, that’s exactly what a branded player is doing: tapping into the positive sentiment toward the medium and almost reinventing advertising by monetizing the ad space within the player. It enables a premium sales proposition via a built-in display banner, thus expanding the revenue potential.


By monetizing the available ad space of the player, along with a clear call to action for measurable performance, there’s an opportunity to empower sales teams with a brand new world of sales opportunities that includes a variety of possibilities:


  • Launches of new services, products, and events

  • Seasonal offerings for brands

  • Native designs that pair the shape of the player with the brand identity (e.g. make the player look like a candy bar for KitKat)


And a whole lot more through custom sponsored messages.


But if people are listening, that means they’re not watching, right?


True - but there’s more than meets the eye, literally.


For starters, these listeners aren’t scrolling. While ads need to remain in view for at least one second to count as viewable, most people already scroll past it. A branded player is in front of the listener where they see it for a lot more than one second, including initiating playback.


Then, think about all the ways they interact with the player:


  • Changing the listening speed so they can listen at a slower or faster pace

  • Jumping back and forth within the content

  • Pausing the content

  • Switching from the default English language

  • Switching between different male and female voices

  • Sharing the audio article on social media (potential traffic generator)


These are all the times when an ad is in full view - a far cry from the IAB/MRC rule of thumb.


What about the load on the website?


As you likely know already, page design, speed, and content are the main factors used to optimize viewability. Speed particularly matters as pages can load before the ads, leaving users with a white space they’re all too happy to scroll past.


From a technical standpoint, adding a branded audio player takes a minimal load on a website. The player is optimized to the slightest latency and resource consumption, not affecting the website’s loading time. If the concern prevails, there is also an option of a test mode on a select part of the traffic before setting up the final version.


The player is fully compatible with mobile sites too, whether via AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) framework or SPA (single-page application). Publishers have the full freedom to fine-tune various settings and placements in order to achieve a look and feel that aligns with the native website surroundings.


Improving ad viewability on familiar terms


There's a lot of ad waste that goes around, which is why advertisers and publishers are always trying to raise viewability rates. Simply put, ads that are not viewed have no value to advertisers as there is no point in paying for them. If advertisers get unhappy, so will the publishers.


A branded audio player does its best to broaden revenue potential with hardly any additional production cost. With it, publishers can get as close to maximum viewability as possible, opening up new inventory options like 100% viewable impressions which command far higher CPMs from advertisers.


A new way to fight banner blindness for a new era of user experiences.

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