New Google Tool will Show Advertisers if Online Video Ads are Being Viewed

doubleclickOnline marketers who use video ads as a key part of their strategy will soon be able to find out whether the ads aired through Google’s DoubleClick service are actually being viewed.

The announcement was made by Google’s vice president of display and video advertising Neal Mohan at the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show on Tuesday.

The new viewability reporting tool will be available to anyone running a campaign through Google DoubleClick. It will tell publishers and advertisers how often and how much their ads are being seen. In order to meet the Media Ratings Council’s standard, ads must be at least 50% in view for at least two seconds.

“Google and other advertising platforms have always used impressions as an important metric. But at the end of the day, most advertisers not doing a branding campaign are looking for conversions,” says John Diaz, General Manager at On Top Visibility. “This may help with budgets, but conversions will always rule the day. So, if this [new Google tool] translates into a better ROI for the advertiser, that would be a good thing.”

Currently, online advertisers can only view whether or not the ad appeared, and how many people watched the ad or clicked on it. The new data about viewability should increase transparency for advertisers who aren’t sure if their ads are actually visible on the page.

Later in 2015, viewability reporting will also be expanded to YouTube ads purchased through Google Preferred, which puts ads on the top 5% of YouTube channels. Advertisers who place on YouTube will also be able to find out how long their ad was viewable, and whether or not viewers switched to another tab or muted the sound during the video.

Mohan didn’t address whether advertisers would have the option not to pay for pre-roll and mid-roll video ads that went unseen (like Google currently handles display banner ads). Instead, he said that more viewability options will be rolled out throughout 2015.

The new viewability stats are likely part of Google’s plan to nurture an online television network through its advertising service and video acquisitions like YouTube. Though EMarketer Inc. reports that TV market spending remains over nine times larger than online advertising, online video ad spending is projected to climb 30% to 7.8 billion in the U.S. this year alone.

The new viewability tools are just another way Google is angling to show the benefits of choosing online advertising over television.