In a much-awaited change from Google, AdWords has introduced Active View metrics and display network viewable CPM bidding. The change allows marketers to see how many of their impressions were actually viewed by users and bid accordingly. With the addition of a few important metrics, marketers have the opportunity to build more accurate and strategic ad campaigns.

“Google has a history of adapting its services to include tools that are typically provided by third-party vendors,” says Kim Giroux, vice president of paid advertising for ZOG Digital. “Over the years, more advanced bid-management, ad scheduling and more transparent analytics have been rolled out. New capabilities from Active View metrics and CPM bidding provide huge opportunities for digital advertisers.”

The industry standard is for publishers and networks to report ad impressions based on how many times an advertisement was served rather than the number of times it was actually viewable For an ad to be considered “viewed” by Google, the ad must be at least 50% visable on the screen for at least one second.

Active View, AdWords, GoogleWithout these metrics, marketers were often in the dark about some aspects of the conversion process. Before the change, some marketers were forced to give conversion credit to an ad even if it wasn’t ever seen by users or pay a third party to monitor this data for them adding costs and limiting the reach of ad budgets. It’s important for brand and digital marketers to make sure they are getting transparent and accurate analytics — a goal that is closer to being fully achieved with this recent AdWords change.

Three metrics have been added to the AdWords user interface:

  • Active View viewable impressions: number of ads shown that have at least 50% of the ad visible on the screen for one second or more.
  • Active View viewable CTR: click-through rate of viewable impressions.
  • Active View average CPM: the average cost for 1,000 active view impressions.

And Google makes it extremely simple to implement. These metrics can be utilized by adding them to the user interface by changing custom columns. In order to use Active View, advertisers are required to move from a cost-per-click model to a CPM (cost-per-impression) model. Giroux cautions that while this may be a disadvantage to some performance advertisers, it is a great advancement for those looking to improve their attribution models and increase overall visibility. For more details about using the tool, visit the Active View Google products page.

According to Google, the addition of Active View is designed to make display advertising more accountable, scalable to the largest inventory of viewable impressions, and reservable so that marketers can lock in viewable CPM pricing.

Beyond just analytics, Active View bidding allows marketers to set up campaigns and only pay for ads that were viewable.

“The biggest benefit for strategic marketers is the power of really getting at the core of attribution modeling,” says Giroux. “It takes out the guess work. We don’t have to surmise ad performance as part of the conversion process.”

Moving forward, marketers will continue to look to Google as the innovators that help make their advertising and user-targeting more efficient and effective. Giroux would like to see additional tools rolled out in AdWords.

“Actual screenshots of visible ads would be helpful in order to see where they are appearing in relation to on-page content. Also, the duration of view time would be an important metric as well.”

For marketers, the current Active View marks another milestone in making analytics as accurate and applicable as possible. Doing so helps marketers optimize content, target audiences and build more efficient, strategic campaigns.

“Google is doing what it does best. It’s making metrics work, which ultimately makes online advertising more relevant for us all,” concluded Giroux.

About Kim Giroux

Giroux is vice president of paid advertising for ZOG Digital, a search and social marketing company based in Scottsdale, Arizona. Giroux has extensive experience in managing ecommerce campaigns for clients like Capital One, Verifone and Whirlpool; and ensures clients acquire more customers, lower their CPA, and achieve maximum ROI. Her cross discipline expertise within paid media runs across paid search (PPC), social advertising, display, and retargeting. Giroux has a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from Arizona State University.