UK ad viewability improves, but still lags behind other European countries

David Murphy
Joshi: "The UK is still well behind other markets and the industry has much work to do"

Ad viewability levels in the UK rose for the first time in nine months to the highest level seen for over a year, according to the latest quarterly benchmark report from ad verification company Meetrics.

In the second quarter of 2017, the proportion of banner ads served that met minimum viewability guidelines rose from 47 per cent to 51 per cent – the first rise since Q3 2016 – and the highest level since Q1 2016, when the figure stood at 54 per cent. Despite the rise, however, the UK still lags far behind Austria (69 per cent), France (58 per cent) and Germany (57 per cent).

“It’s certainly a step in the right direction and shows ad viewability initiatives, such as from JICWEBS and the like, are starting to impact the market,” said Anant Joshi, Meetrics’ commercial director for UK & Ireland. “However, the UK is still well behind other markets and the industry has much work to do. We can’t celebrate the fact that we’re back to almost half of banner ad budgets being wasted on ads that don’t have the chance to be seen.”

For the first time, Meetrics has revealed the different viewability levels between ads purchased directly versus ads purchased programmatically across Europe. Joshi says: “Not surprisingly, direct ads have a better viewability level (59 per cent) than programmatic (52 per cent). Direct ads may be more expensive but in the end, their viewability rates are higher and are more likely to be in a brand-safe environment.”

Meetrics has also published an international viewability figure for video ads. This shows that 69 per cent of video ads meet the IAB and Media Ratings Council’s recommendation that 50 per cent of the video ad is in view for at least two seconds. For banner ads, its 50 per cent for at least one second. The average time a video ad is in view, or has the opportunity to be seen, is 23.4 seconds, compared to 25.5 seconds for banner ads.

“As video ad spend continues to rise, it’s extremely encouraging to see such a good initial viewability rate for video,” said Joshi. “This is partly because viewers tend to be more engaged with video due to its greater screen size and being less surrounded by other ads.”

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