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Do You Have to Pay for Un-Viewable Google Ads?

By Christopher Coble, Esq. on October 02, 2015 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Google has announced that it won't make advertisers pay for ads that aren't 100 percent viewable. This is great news for small businesses using the global search engine to get the word out. Only paying for those ads that potential customers can see means you're getting more bang for your buck.

But how do you know which ads are getting viewed, or are viewable? And what are the viewability criteria?

A View From Above

As online advertising has grown in sophistication and reach, so have online ad blockers. This is a real concern for businesses that advertise online. Google acknowledged that only 56 percent of display ads are actually viewed, a statistic that could leave advertisers wondering whether paying for display ads is worth it.

Google's response is a campaign to achieve 100 percent viewability, or, 100 percent of an advertiser's display ad buy going only to viewable ads, at least:

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).

Click Confidence

Online advertising is a tricky business, mostly because advertisers have to rely on Google's, or another company's, data regarding views and clicks. And, as 9 to 5 Google points out, "Google doesn't offer any specific information on what its definition of 100 percent viewable means and it doesn't specifically mention ad blockers as one way an advertiser's ads won't be viewable."

Consumers will always want their Internet for free and ad-free, meaning many will go to great lengths to keep any ads from infiltrating their online experience. And as ad blocking software continues to cater to this clientele, advertisers and ad-space sellers like Google will try and stay one step ahead. Just make sure you trust your ad buys, and maybe make sure they're not selling your search terms to your competitor.

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