The Misconception of Below-The-Fold Display Ad Placements

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The Misconception of Below-The-Fold Display Ad Placements

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Post by Kevin Theodore, Media Director

With an ever-increasing focus on the viewability of ads in programmatic media, advertisers may have a misconception of the difference between below-the-fold (BTF) placements and viewability.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

With below-the-fold placements, a user needs to scroll down the page to see an impression, displayed like so:

Below-The-Fold Display Ad Placement

Image courtesy of Google

The Media Rating Council (MRC) defines viewability as having:

  • Pixel Requirements: The ad should have 50%+ of the pixels within the page space
  • Time Requirement: The pixel requirement should be met at one continuous second

But, ad position does not equate to viewability. There’s plenty of value to below-the-fold placements with publishers that engage their followers with quality content. By keeping their audiences on the site, below-the-fold placements become viewable to those reading an article from start to finish.

Occasionally, advertisers will mandate targeting above-the-fold placements or excluding below-the-fold placements. The issue with this strategy is that advertisers are cutting off a very large percentage of available inventory for their target audience. And this inventory could have value with viewable impressions.

There is also a large amount of unmeasurable placements, meaning that they cannot be defined as above or below-the-fold. Looking at one advertiser’s impression availability for their first party audience, the breakout by ad position was:

  • Above-the-fold: 32%
  • Below-the-fold: 34%
  • Unmeasurable: 34%

There is a good amount of inventory being cut off by targeting only above-the-fold or excluding below-the-fold placements. To fulfill larger budgets with these ad position settings, it is required to increase bids by creating inefficiencies.

With an increased focus on viewability throughout the industry, there is a large price reduction for below-the-fold placements. Costs for the same first party audience broke out as such:

  • Above-the-fold: $4.44
  • Below-the-fold: $2.34
  • Unmeasurable: $3.44

Rather than excluding below-the-fold or unmeasurable placements, advertisers should treat them differently. By differentiating bids and optimizing by ad position, advertisers will create greater efficiencies to achieve campaign goals.


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