In a lot of ways, online advertising is a lot like the Wild West – there are relatively few rules and standards in place that dictate what a business owner actually gets when they pay for an ad. It’s not even clear if a customer can see the ad – many ads are quite small, and are displayed for very minimal periods of time. Some standards were suggested four years ago – At least 50% of an ad must be in view for a minimum of one second for display ads or two seconds for video ads – yet this combination, which is known as the MRC standard, hasn’t yet been universally adopted.
What does that mean for your business? For one thing, it’s always a good best practice as a business owner to understand what you’re paying for. If half of your ad (or even more!) won’t be on the screen for even a second, what possible chance does it have of capturing a customer’s attention? Google’s done some research on the subject and has discovered that ads are more impactful when they’re seen, and even more impactful when they’re seen and heard.
Google has committed to abiding by the MRC standard in all of its advertising products. That doesn’t necessarily mean that this minimum is going to be sufficient to meet your marketing goals; it’s simply a baseline that establishes how much of your ad will be seen, and for how long. And as we all know, what Google does influences what other digital advertisers do. Display ads on other social media platforms may soon follow suit – especially as Facebook is rumored to be exploring a paid-subscription model that allows users an ad-free experience; longer, bigger ads may just force users to give money to Facebook directly.
In the meantime, you can enjoy some degree of confidence that any Google advertising you do – which includes Adwords and YouTube advertising – will be on the screen long enough to be seen. It’s appropriate to demand the same from other ad publishers. Keep an eye on your metrics: logically, more ad exposure should lead to better conversion rates. If not, it’s time to examine what you’re doing and adjust your efforts for better results.