Another day, another report threatens to burst the digital advertising bubble by claiming that online ad viewability levels have dropped noticeably in the final quarter of 2015, with around £134m wasted on unseen banner ads in the UK alone.
While many in the industry have already criticised the current IAB and Media Ratings Council’s standard – that an ad is deemed viewable if 50% of it is in view for at least 1 second – as too low, even this has not prevented a decline across the whole of Europe.
According to the latest figures from ad verification company Meetrics, the UK saw the lowest drop – viewability levels for display ads fell from 52% in Q3 to 50% in Q4 2015 – but Germany fell from 61% to 58%, France from 69% to 65% and Austria from 70% to 65% in Q4.
This reverses the gains made in Q3, when UK ads rose from 49% in Q2 to 52%, and France increased from 62% to 69%. The Germans will be most worried, however, as the figures show a third consecutive fall, from 64% to 61% and now 58%.
“After a bit of a rally, things seem to be getting worse again,” said Meetrics director of international business Anant Joshi. “Although in the UK, for example, the drop isn’t much, it’s the direction that’s more important.
“Current efforts to address the issue don’t seem to be working – either that or the efforts in one area are simply offsetting the inevitable falls generated by more automated buying. In Q4, around £134m was wasted on unseen banner ads alone [based on IAB figures].”
The report reveals in the UK that ‘half-page’ ads are the most viewable format (63%) followed by ‘billboards’ (59%). ‘leaderboards’ are the least viewable (43%) format.
The average time viewable ads (those meeting the 50%/1 second rule) were in view was 31.4 seconds.
The report also revealed that over the last couple of years, the average amount of a web page taken up by advertising was just 8%. Joshi notes: “The ratio between advertising and editorial is much lower than you’d think – particularly with all the talk about online ad clutter. On a web-wide level, it’s simply a myth.”
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