UK online advertising viewability has risen for the second consecutive quarter for the first time ever to reach 52% – the highest level for 18 months – although the British market still lags way behind every other European country.
That is according to the latest quarterly benchmark report from ad verification company Meetrics, which shows that the proportion of banner ads served that met minimum viewability guidelines inched up from 51% to 52% – the highest level since Q1 2016 (54%). This followed a rise from 47% to 51% in the previous quarter.
The IAB and Media Ratings Council’s recommendation is that an ad is considered viewable if 50% of it is in view for at least one second; a measurement most people in the industry, except those who are flogging the ads, have viewed as laughable for years. A 2016 study claimed that an online ad needs to be on the screen for at least 14 seconds to have any chance of being looked at.
But in the absence of any other standard, there is no alternative than to measure viewability this way. And while Meetrics’ country manager for UK & Ireland Anant Joshi concedes the rise is miniscule, he insists it is “directionally very significant”.
He added: “For the first time, there’s a consistent positive trend which is a sign that efforts to increase viewability are bearing fruit. A driving factor is that some agency groups are starting to demand a higher percentage of an ad’s surface area to be in view, which is making the sell side improve the quality of their ad placements.”
However, the UK trails far behind the other six European countries in which Meetrics measures viewability. Italy (68% viewability) and Austria (67%) lead the way while Switzerland and Poland (both 55%) are the closest to UK levels.
Joshi noted that despite the UK heading in the right direction, the latest IAB/PwC digital adspend figures “suggest around £165m in the UK is still being wasted per quarter on ads not meeting minimum viewability guidelines”.
UK online ad viewability rises but trails rest of Europe
Unseen banner ads cost brands £606m during 2016
Online ad viewability push fails to make impression
Guidelines for online ad viewability ‘are nonsense’
Programmatic blamed as ad viewability levels crash
Why is digital industry so blind to viewability issue?
Digital ad viewability inches up but bubbly is on hold
Fresh blow to digital as ad viewability falls sharply