A new report published by mobile ad company Kargo found that ad viewability does not directly correlate to memorability. Similarly, the report also indicated that ad visibility does not necessarily yield higher user engagement.
Kargo’s study distinguished the correlation between viewability of an ad unit and its memorability (ad effectiveness), examining the following formats: Instagram ads, large format in-article mobile ads, Kargo pinned mobile ads, mobile gaming in-app ads, and desktop ads.
Viewability vs. memorability across digital ad formats
Instagram among the highest in ad effectiveness. Despite the low share of sessions reported at 1.9%, Instagram proved to be 8.3x more effective than gaming and 5.4x more than desktop with 77% of participants looking at an ad at some point during their session. Instagram generated an ad effectiveness score of 10.8%, which was also matched by large-format in-article mobile ads.
Large-format in-article ads just as effective as Instagram ads. These ads also scored 10.8% in ad effectiveness with 4.1% share of sessions. The ads had a 50% viewability rate. The study determined that mobile web ads offer a lucrative format for amplifying social efforts within existing contextual environments.
Kargo’s pinned mobile ads 2x more effective than desktop ads. Kargo’s “Breakout” and “Sidekick” ad units – which display as a fixed block at the bottom of articles – ranked third in ad effectiveness at 3.9% with 90% viewability. By using a basic banner format and adding animation, these smaller format units were analyzed to test if creative enhancements alone could result in a higher share of session and attention.
In-app gaming banner ads showed lowest ad effectiveness. While in-app game banners were highly visible (90% viewability) according to Kargo’s study, they were rarely looked at and resulted in only 1.3% ad effectiveness. Almost 98.5% of the time that the ad was in-view, it was not being looked at, and claimed only 1.5% share of total sessions. Furthermore, ad recall for these ads was extremely low, with participants claiming there were no lasting impressions around the brands or products being advertised.
Desktop banners second-lowest ad effectiveness of all platforms. Kargo exposed participants to sidebar banner ads on desktop. While these ads had an 80% viewability rate, they were only looked at an average of 1.9% of the total session time and represented 2% ad effectiveness.
Ad recall by platform
In addition to tracking viewability, Kargo also measured the effectiveness of each platform by how well respondents accurately recall the brands that were advertised.
Among the respondents who were exposed to at least one ad, pinned mobile web ads and large format in-article ads outperformed the other platforms in ad recall by 29%.
Additionally, participants in the mobile web group were tasked with selecting the brands they recall from a list, of which 60% selected at least one of the four brands tested.