Nearly half – 46% – of the video ads running across the desktop and mobile web never had a chance to be seen, according to Google. That figure is based on the video ads the search giant has served across the web, but doesn’t include YouTube, reports AdAge.

Not surprisingly, continues the AdAge report, “the numbers play out much better for its own service. According to YouTube owner Google, 91% of the video ads running on YouTube’s sites and mobile apps showed up on someone’s screen at least half in view for at least two seconds (in line with the Media Rating Council’s adopted standard).

“Juxtaposing YouTube’s 91% viewability rate with the wider web’s 54% viewability rate isn’t an apples-to-apples comparison. YouTube only runs video ads within the YouTube player where they have a better chance of being seen because that’s where the main content is, and its primary video ad product, TrueView, only charges advertisers if someone watches at least 30 seconds of the brand’s ad. Meanwhile other publishers can stuff video ads within banners and make them play automatically on a page’s fringes; they can even do that with entire video players.

“Most the time when a video ad goes unviewed, the viewer never even had a chance to decide whether to view it. Of the unviewed ads — not including the unviewed ones running on YouTube — 76% never appeared on the device’s screen or played in a background tab. For the remaining 24%, people had a chance to see the ad but scrolled past the video ad before it could play for two consecutive seconds. Google wouldn’t break out those stats for YouTube’s unviewed ads.

“Google wouldn’t break out separate viewability rates for in-banner and in-player video ads.”

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