Viewable Impressions


A viewable impression is a technology able to calculate the rate a display ad has actually been visible on the page. When 50% of the ad content on a web page is within the visible area of the viewer’s browser window for one second, a message is sent via a code to an ad tracking platform and a “Viewable Impression” is reported.

In 2012, the IAB created a task force to develop guidelines and regulations surrounding viewable impressions.

The ad serving industry is moving toward a “viewable impressions” standard and the ability to count real exposures online.

However, before fully moving to a viewable impressions metric, ad-serving platforms must overcome technical issues such as capturing impressions through i-frames. Furthermore, many ad-serving platform vendors cannot measure a significant number of impressions for visibility.  comScore has become an accredited partner that is working toward more accurate measurement of viewable impressions.

Industry Implications:

If the technical issues can be overcome and a standard measurement can be developed for viewable impressions, it will mean higher quality placements for our clients in the pharmaceutical industry. This will positively affect click-through-rates and
site-visitor-rates. However, more management will be involved to track viewable impressions both on the publisher side and the agency side.

There will be a change in price structure to account for better placements (for instance, viewable impressions will become more valuable than standard impressions).  This will impact both the agency side and our partner offerings/capabilities.   Online advertising is expected to migrate to buying based on viewable impressions, not gross ad impressions.  CMI will work with publishers to negotiate rates on viewable impressions.

The comScore tag that is available for implementation in our ad server DoubleClick, allows CMI to capture the viewable impressions.  Reporting (by site) can be provided to the client to show how many impressions were actually viewable to our target
audience.  CMI is working with the comScore data to determine when the viewable impressions metric will be ready
for use with clients.

Additionally, and specifically for pharma, we believe this will impact the buying of media because our industry already pays high CPMs based on the targeting/HCP market, so this will optimize the budgets so that we are only paying that premium CPM on viewable impressions.


IQ Rx has done some preliminary research, and for some campaigns, it was found that an average of 52% of impressions were viewable, with some campaigns as low as only 32% were viewable.  Some clients and brands have removed “below the fold” placements from the package buys due to low performance to eliminate these “wasted impressions”.

As a department, IQ Rx plans to stay in the loop with the progress of these guidelines and regulations sharing all news and any updates with the company. We are currently testing Viewable Impressions with some campaigns and will integrate best practices
across all brands as appropriate.