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EMAC 2023 Annual

The moderating role of goal orientation on the effect of viewability on ad effectiveness

Published: May 24, 2023


Isin Acun, University of Vienna Economics and Business; Nadia Abou Nabout, WU Vienna; Klaus Miller, HEC Paris


Many online ads are never visible to users, although they count as ad impressions, leading advertisers to waste money on unseen ads. We argue that ad viewability is more important for websites that users explore, rather than visit to fulfill a specific goal. In the latter case, they are likely less receptive to ads, such that ad viewability should not make a difference in ad effectiveness. Yet, for websites that users visit to explore content, we expect ad viewability to play a greater role for ad effectiveness. We thus study how ad viewability affects ad effectiveness for different types of websites. We use data that covers goal- vs browsing-oriented websites and includes 371,952 ad impressions, their viewability, and information about an eventual visit to the advertiser’s website. Our results help publishers tailor their pricing depending on website type. Advertisers gain insights into which websites to target and when to pay more for certain impressions.