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Google Adwords Display Network Is Going 100% Viewable CPM

Google has recently announced a rather huge change towards what they consider a view when it comes to Google Adwords advertising. Subsequently that change for Adwords advertisers also applied a huge change in the income for Google Adsense publishers. In a nutshell Google has stated that they are working on making sure that advertisers only have to pay for ad impressions that were actually viewable – which means if you’re ad got shown on the sidebar of a page, below the fold, and the user never scrolls down, you’re not paying!

Most display ads — 56% in fact — never had a chance to be viewed because they were below the fold, scrolled out of view, or in a background tab. Soon, we’ll make the GDN one of the only media platforms where advertisers don’t pay for an ad impression unless it was viewable. This means your media dollars will only be spent where they can have impact. In the next few months, all campaigns that buy on a CPM basis will be upgraded to be viewable CPM (vCPM).

According to Google an ad is only counted as viewed when 50% of that advertisement has been displayed on a viewable portion of the screen for 1+ seconds (2+ for video ads). Now while this is great news for Google Adwords advertisers running PPC campaigns; Google Adsense publishers unfortunately suffer. See if advertisers don’t have to pay for that impression then the publisher doesn’t get paid either. That means that placing ad blocks above-the-fold is now ideal for most publishers as they try to keep the income that CPM advertisers bring in – and unfortunately placing most of a websites ads above the fold makes for a less than ideal environment for most website users.

In-fact Google began penalizing websites with too much above-the-fold advertisements back in 2012.

We’ve heard complaints from users that if they click on a result and it’s difficult to find the actual content, they aren’t happy with the experience. Rather than scrolling down the page past a slew of ads, users want to see content right away.

So sites that don’t have much content “above-the-fold” can be affected by this change. If you click on a website and the part of the website you see first either doesn’t have a lot of visible content above-the-fold or dedicates a large fraction of the site’s initial screen real estate to ads, that’s not a very good user experience.

Such sites may not rank as highly going forward.

It is important to note here that we’re only taking about CPM advertisers here – since they’re the only ones paying by the impression. Regardless the new method for categorizing a viewed ad is sure to create some stir for both advertisers & publishers alike. Advertisers will likely enjoy spending less of their money pointlessly, however publishers will have to get creative here if they want to maximize their revenue from CPM advertisers.


About Michael Boguslavskiy

Michael Boguslavskiy is a full-stack developer & online presence consultant based out of New York City. He’s been offering freelance marketing & development services for over a decade. He currently manages Rapid Purple – and online webmaster resources center; and Media Explode – a full service marketing agency.

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