LAS VEGAS: The debate over the viewability of digital ads has taken a major step forward with Google's announcement that it is to start reporting this metric for video ad campaigns.

The internet giant has already moved in this direction with banner display ads, but as online video advertising grows in importance, it has committed itself to providing a similar level of detail for users of its DoubleClick adtech system and for reserved inventory on YouTube, Advertising Age reported.

Measurements will be based on the standards set by the Media Rating Council – at least 50% of an ad has to be in view for at least two seconds.

"Viewability is really table stakes," said Neal Mohan, vp/video and display advertising at Google, as he unveiled the development during a presentation at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

A later blog post elaborated, explaining that in coming months advertisers would not only be able to target viewable impressions in DoubleClick, but also "buy only viewable video impressions across the Google Display Network".

In December last year, Google revealed that 56.1% of digital ads served to consumers on its own display advertising platforms were not viewable and said that a small number of publishers were serving most of the non-viewable impressions.

It said then that advertisers could identify both high- and low-value inventory and then shift budgets and targets accordingly in order to maximise reach and ROI.

Viewability is not an end in itself, Mohan said. "With the confidence that their ads can be seen by a real person, marketers can then go on to strive for – and measure – what really matters: impact and engagement."

Google is also planning to make more measurements available later in the year, including the total amount of time an ad is viewable and the audibility of video ads.

Data sourced from Advertising Age, Google; additional content by Warc staff