What No One Tells You About the Viewability of Your Ads

The very least advertisers should expect when they commission a campaign is that it will be seen. But in the competitive digital market too often this isn’t the case. Integral Ad Science report that as much as half of all advertising goes unseen, giving meticulously crafted messages little chance to connect.

So what’s happening? The MRC (Media Rating Council) guidelines recommend that half of the pixels of a standard display ad should be visible for at least one second on a webpage in order for it to be viewable. In the UK, the average viewability – the percentage of ads achieving this baseline – is just 53 per cent on desktop, 49 per cent on mobile. Buyers deserve better.

“I just don’t believe in the impact of an ad unless  it has the ability to be seen” – Mark Fletcher, Digital Marketing Manager Nottingham Trent University


Nottingham Trent University’s Digital Marketing Manager, Mark Fletcher, is a fierce advocate for measuring viewability. For him it’s an indispensable tool for making sense of existing data and helps him to make informed decisions. Fletcher would like the rest of the industry to take it as seriously as The Student Room does.

Viewability is vital for ensuring programmatic works for advertisers. Because programmatic advertising has traditionally valued conversion counting above all else, campaigns have gone unseen on sites cynically overloaded with ads.

But by measuring the viewability of different ad formats and positioning, publishers and buyers can analyse statistics at a consumer level and question the validity of these conversions.

“The Student Room’s data helps us connect the dots. It has helped us determine between different ad formats. It validates that our money is well spent. And it helps reassure us that our message is getting through” – Mark Fletcher


The Student Room sets exacting standards for both onsite and offsite viewability to ensure maximum numbers of people see our partners’ ads. By tirelessly optimising our content and advertising inventory the Student Room has achieved an onsite viewability of 69 per cent, 38% higher than the UK average.

“This optimisation – thinking about where ads should go and what formats are viewable – makes me believe The Student Room is taking viewability seriously” – Mark Fletcher

The UK’s viewability average for programmatic advertising is just 52 per cent on desktop, 48 per cent on mobile. By adhering to the high standards we believe the rest of the industry should, we have ensured that the viewability of our own programmatic proposition stands at an average of 70 per cent.

By bidding on inventory with premium viewability we maximise the chances of your campaign being seen. The Student Room will help your message stand out.

“On the programmatic campaigns we’re doing with The Student Room, viewability is as good as their onsite. That is a huge positive. It’s the benefit of The Student Room setting those targets high” – Mark Fletcher

Find out more about our fully managed, programmatic solution, Ada.