Does anyone remember the Hi-C marketing campaign that rolled out by stating clearly on the juice container “Contains 10% real fruit juice!”? Like many, my first reaction was wondering if that was a good thing or what was everyone else pumping into their juice? Flash forward a few decades, and according to a recent Google study as published by Media Post, 56.1% of all banner impressions run via DoubleClick and the Google display ad network are not viewable… Or, in Hi-C terms: “43.9% of all impressions are viewable!” Although the general media has jumped at this as another conviction that the banner ad is dead, I look at it as an interesting question of “what was everyone else pumping into the juice?” How often did my print ad appear on page E17 on a holiday weekend edition and actually get viewed? I know that my rate base is audited by the likes of ABC and BPA – but that doesn’t mean because it was delivered to a persons home that they actually flipped to that page to view the ad. TV has had a similar problem in that for me, commercials used to be “sprint to the bathroom time” (well – before I got into the ad industry that is). Set top boxes couldn’t identify the size of my bladder or my willingness to hold on to see the next GI Joe action figure commercial. TV’s problem has only evolved further with the launch of the DVR and its grown so much that people have coined phrases such as “time-shifting” to account for lower ratings. In fact, early studies (here’s one from 2004) suggested that DVRs were used almost exclusively (87% of the time) with a commercial skipping strategy in mind. So the reality is, we just aren’t sure if having 43.9% of the banner ads viewable is a bad thing, or a good thing – but we now have a benchmark for the future. Rather than dwell on whether it’s a good number or bad number, the opportunity with banner ads has never been stronger… Stay tuned for a follow up article on how your non-viewed banner ads are strengthening your media buy!