Google Introduces Change To AdWords: Pay By Viewable Impression CPM Bidding

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Google Introduces Change To AdWords: Pay By Viewable Impression CPM Bidding

Google rolled out a major change to AdWords this week by introducing CPM bidding by viewable impressions. This change was first noticed by Kim Clinkunbroomer of Philly Marketing Labs.

Rather than charging advertisers on the traditional model of served impressions, this change to CPM bidding means that advertisers will be charged based on ad impressions that can actually be viewed in-screen by users. All campaigns running on the Google Display Network will now have this option.

Ads are deemed viewable by Google’s Active View reporting. Previously advertisers were charged based on whether or not their ad was “served,” which wouldn’t necessarily indicate it was viewed by the end user.

This is huge for advertisers, as comScore recently reported that 31 percent of online ads go unseen by users.

Google’s Active View technology will now also include metrics reporting for advertisers which will track viewable impressions, viewable click-through rate and Active View average CPM.

Surprisingly, Google has made little mention of this change themselves. The move by Google towards having advertisers pay by viewable impressions will eventually become standard industry-wide.

In June it was reported by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) that marketers should be prepared to buy digital media based on viewability by the end of this year:

The Media Rating Council (MRC) expects to lift its Viewable Impression Advisory by the end of this year, and at that time marketers will eagerly start buying digital media on viewable metrics. Publishers and agencies, we hope you’re ready.

With that being said, are you ready for this change to CPM bidding? Do you think it should become the industry standard sooner rather than later? Let me know what you think in the comments section.

Matt Southern

Matt Southern

Lead News Writer
Matt Southern is the lead news writer at Search Engine Journal. His passion for helping people in all aspects of online marketing flows through in the expert industry coverage he provides.
Matt Southern
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  • Alex Montoya

    Now I see you. Great news.

  • joe seodml

    wow! this is a big news and big deal to advetisers for sure which they and me won’t like it.

  • Mohnesh Kohli

    It is a good move now we have to pay only for viewable Impression

  • Pawas Gupta

    It is definitely a good news for advertisers. It will be interesting to see the change in revenue Google brings through display advertising in quarters to come.


    Yes a fairer system is the only way.

  • Ron Tarkas

    Will be interesting to see how this change affects the marketing budget in the long run.
    at 30% non-viewable ad impressions, this can potentially be a huge deal for a lot of companies, myself and my projects included.

  • Bharat Rawat

    A very good step from google for advertisers.

  • Souvik mallick

    Thats a nice and fair move by Google. It will be very helpful, after finding out high CTR and better converting ads using CPC. For testing, the best performing i would always try to stick to CPC rather than CPM.

  • Steve Cameron

    It seems only fair to charge for impressions that were actually visible. This has been one of my biggest gripes with VTC’s – Google counts a VTC if an ad was on a page, even if the user never scrolled down to see it.

    To avoid this I have been using exclusions to stop ads appearing “below the fold” which kind of achieves what Google are now offering.

  • heather

    It’s about darn time! I was wondering when google would finally take this into account.

  • kevin pike

    WOW, what was old, is new again – I remember CPM bidding back in the day, and it was a wast e of $$$$. I guess if you are just running brand awareness campaigns, then CPM is okay – but ROI is better sticking with the CPC model.

  • Karina

    I just wonder how this will affect the entrepreneurs who rely in the Google Adsense program to generate more income.

  • Samarth

    Nice Move Google is trying to find more innovative way to get money out of our pocket. I think this will hardly have any impact at-least on the performance marketers . In a way Google’s policy of “don’t be evil is evil yet again 🙂 lol

  • Neeraj Kumar

    Certainly advertisers will get real picture of ads performance. A good advertisement will get higher ctr… We will better know when to re-edit ad contents.

  • Jim Banks

    Buying above the fold display advertising has been one of the biggest differentiating factors but it seems a bit of an anomaly.

    Matt Cutts said at Pubcon recently that Google were looking at sites where there was a prevalence of advertising visible when pages load and were likely to take a dim view of that, but if advertisers switch to only buying visible impressions above the fold the price is likely to increase and more sites are going to move their ad blocks into positions of prominence to ensure they get served.

    So, which part of Google is going to win out, the spam team or the ad team?

    • Steve Cameron

      Actually it doesn’t matter too much of the ad is below the fold provided Google only charge the advertiser if the visitor scrolls down so that the ad is 100% visible – in fact if this were the case I might be tempted to prefer that position as it does suggest that the visitor is more engaged with the page content and, therefore, more likely to fit my target.

  • JimmyD

    Hopefully it will work better than LinkedIn’s system.. Bid CPM.. get not clicks.. bid CPC.. and they come flooding in (with no relation to whats in Analytics mind you!).

    Interesting to see how it goes in the real world, sounds good though.

  • Aditya Khanna

    This is gr8 news for advertisers. Quick questions :- Will they still be offering the classical CPM model along with this new one ?

  • Craig Simmons

    Indeed an great move by Google. But we need to make sure we’re looking at the correct benchmark. comScore updated the non-viewable industry benchmark from 31% non-viewable to 54% non-viewable back in June 2013