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UK ad viewability hits highest level in 18 months / IAB/PwC’s Digital Adspend study

Following IAB/PwC’s Digital Adspend study, there’s more good news for the UK online ad industry as ad viewability levels hit their highest level in 18 months, according to Meetrics.

However, the UK still lags well behind other European countries and, based on IAB figures, it suggests £600 million still being wasted annually on non-viewable ads.

Brands/publishers can now see main reasons why ads aren’t viewable

Online ad viewability levels in the UK increased to 54% in the first quarter of 2016, the highest level for 18 months, according to a new report from ad verification company Meetrics. The last time it was higher was 55% in Q3 2014.

However, despite the 4% point jump on the previous quarter to 54%, the UK still lags well behind other European countries in terms of viewability levels: France stands at 66%, Austria at 65% and Germany at 60%.

Viewability levels by country

An ad is considered viewable if it meets the IAB and Media Ratings Council’s recommendation that 50% of it is in view for at least 1 second.

“Viewability is rising due to two main factors,” said Anant Joshi, Meetrics’ Director of International Business“As the whole ‘ad verification’ topic gets more publicity, it gains prominence in marketing departments, consequently, more campaigns are being optimised against viewability figures. Furthermore, the issue of low-viewable inventory in programmatic – which now accounts for 60%¹ of display ad sales – is being addressed.

“However, there’s still a long way to go – the IAB’s new Adspend figures suggest the 46% of banner ads not viewable means over £600 million¹ wasted annually.”

Why ads aren’t viewable
Advertisers and publishers are now also able to see why ads aren’t viewable. For example, for the campaign below ONLY, 15.1% of ads weren’t viewable because the ad didn’t load quickly enough before the viewer moved elsewhere. This was followed by the ad appearing below the fold (12.8%), i.e. below the part of the page in view.

Example Campaign Non-Viewability Reasons

Joshi comments: “A key route to improving viewability is increasing web-page performance and ad serving systems, notably, drastically reducing the amount of web browser redirects going on behind the scenes before content is loaded. Initiatives like the IAB’s Lean Ad Principles – actually designed to counter ad-blocking – should have a positive knock-on effect on viewability.”