In digital advertising in 2018, one can’t go far before bumping in to the thorny issue of ad viewability. “An ad served doesn't necessarily equal an ad viewed, and digital advertisers and publishers are catching onto this as the industry shifts toward valuing viewability—an online advertising metric that tracks seen impressions rather than served impressions, ” says Google.

Further Google research shows that, in display advertising, as much as 56% of ads are not viewed. Why? Ads which have been served might appear in the user’s browser but they aren’t necessarily appearing ‘above the fold’ as in viewable on the user’s desktop or mobile screen because they are further down the page. Other factors such as the size of the ad can also result in the ad not being viewable meaning that, even above the fold, on average 32% of ads are still not viewed.

From Canadian research (Statista, 2017) 77% of podcast listeners don’t skip through ads. Given that most podcast apps allow for easy skipping forward and back (the Apple Podcast app specifically allows users to skip forward or back 15 seconds at a time), that’s quite an impressive number which one could imagine is due to a high engagement in medium, however, it is more likely due to the programmatic-style dynamic insertion of advertising which suggests that ads would be more targeted (suited, ergo interesting) to listeners that in usual analogue radio.

Furthermore, podcast hosting providers report on the duration of listenership which means one can reliably report on how much of the podcast was listened to and, therefore, not only whether the ads were served but also if they were ‘viewed’. If the industry can add a further step of reporting on skipping (which is possible on the horizon) then we have full understanding.