Dissecting ‘Opportunity to See’ Reveals That When Digital Ads Appear on Screen, A Person is Present 99.2% of the Time, But That Begins to Drop After 2+ Seconds


NEW YORK – May 11, 2020 – Thus far, the advertising industry has primarily focused on only one of the factors that determines “opportunity to see” digital ads – whether the ad actually appears on the screen. What is often not discussed is the other factor that offers a non-fraudulent digital ad an “opportunity to be seen” – a person is present when the ad is on screen. To date, human presence has often been overlooked by the industry because it is difficult to measure, and because ads are served to personal devices like mobile phones. Thus, it is presumed that someone is present when a digital ad is on screen. While it seems logical, no one has actually tested this conjecture until now.


This concept of human “presence” is a common concern for TV ads given the fact that people often leave the room during commercial breaks. In fact, MAGNA, IPG Media Lab, and TVision recently quantified how often an ad airs to an empty room, which is 29% of the time. As a follow-up, a new study by MAGNA and IPG Media Lab, “Dissecting ‘Opportunity to See,’” tested the presumption that a person is present when digital ads appear on the screen, in an effort to quantify how often digital ads appear without the person present.


Presence is defined as a person in the same visual range (for >=1 sec) of a digital ad that fully appears on the screen (the person may or may not be looking at the screen).  A major finding from the study is that while presence is very high at first (99.2%), it does decline.  For example, 94% of non-skippable video ads reached six or more seconds of human presence.


For the study, participants used in-home POV cameras to record their digital viewing experiences across PC and mobile devices in a natural environment over the course of two weeks. In each instance, the camera was mounted to the participant’s head in order to obtain a view of where they are in relation to their digital device, and a screen recorder was turned on their PC and mobile devices to capture what’s on the screen. The study included 102 participants, with 1,004 hours of video recorded and analyzed.


“It’s crucial for marketers to accurately understand both of the components that determine whether ads have the opportunity to be seen”, said Kara Manatt, SVP, Group Director, Intelligence Solutions, MAGNA Global. “While the industry has a strong understanding of ‘ads on screen’, we’ve yet to understand whether we should expect a person to always be present. This research finally quantifies this for us and provides invaluable insight into consumer behavior.”


Additional key findings include:

  • There was nearly total presence regardless of device and for both digital video (98.4%) and display (100%).
  • All video positions are not created equally; digital presence for pre-roll video sat at 99.5%, compared to mid-roll video at 97.1%.
  • Overall, 97.7% of digital video ads had presence for 2+ seconds.
  • Presence, however, declines over time indicating the continued need for the industry to understand how to best capture and hold consumer attention.


The full study can be found  here.  As mentioned earlier, the study was a follow up to research conducted by MAGNA and IPG Media Lab, in partnership with TVision, “Quantifying TV Viewability,” which revealed how often people are in the room when ads air and how this varies by daypart, position in ad pod and ad length.

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MAGNA is the centralized IPG Mediabrands resource that develops intelligence, investment and innovation strategies for agency teams and clients. We utilize our insights, forecasts and strategic relationships to provide clients with a competitive marketplace advantage.


MAGNA harnesses the aggregate power of all IPG media investments to create leverage in the market, negotiate preferred pricing and secure premium inventory to drive maximum value for our clients. The MAGNA Investment and Innovation teams architect go-to-market investment strategies across all channels including linear television, print, digital and programmatic on behalf of IPG clients. The team focuses on the use of emerging media opportunities, as well as data and technology-enabled solutions to drive optimal client performance and business results.


MAGNA Intelligence has set the industry standard for more than 60 years by predicting the future of media value. The MAGNA Intelligence team produces more than 40 annual reports on audience trends, media spend and market demand as well as ad effectiveness.


About IPG Media Lab

Part of the Interpublic network, the IPG Media Lab identifies and researches innovations and trends that will change the media landscape and how brands engage with their audiences. Since 2006, the Lab has worked with our clients and with industry partners who can help them best adapt to disruptive change. Its expertise, resources and consulting services also help to inform the learnings, strategies and business outcomes of all Interpublic agencies. For more information, please visit www.ipglab.com or follow @ipglab.


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Media Contact:

Zinnia Gill

IPG Mediabrands

Director, Global Corporate Communications

(646) 965-4271

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