Programmatic and automated ad buying might make life easier for agencies but it comes at a cost to their clients, according to a new report which shows online ad viewability levels in the UK crashed dramatically from 54% to 47% in the second quarter of 2016, the lowest level for 18 months.
The UK now lags further behind other European countries in terms of viewability levels: Austria stands at 69%, France at 62% and Germany at 60%. The last time the UK viewability rate was lower was when it stumbled in 46% in Q4 2014.
Based on the IAB/PwC’s adspend figures, ad verification company Meetrics estimates the 53% of banner ads not viewable in the UK is “getting on for £700m being wasted annually on non-viewable ads”.
Director of international business Anant Joshi said: “Viewability in the UK is more volatile than other major European markets due to the higher penetration of programmatic and automated ad buying.
“The surge in ads bought programmatically contributed to the decline in viewability, which was compounded by publishers upping the speed at which ads are reloaded or auto-refreshed to raise inventory levels and revenue. Around 20% of ads weren’t viewable because they weren’t in the frame for long enough – the highest rate we’ve seen due to this reason for some time.”
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 one second.
The impressive figures for the Austrian market come off the back of an agreement by the majority of publishers to move to billing by viewable impressions by selling their inventory based on an independent viewability definition agreed by a dozen leading advertisers.
Joshi notes: “The Austrian market was one of, if not the, first to try such an initiative and the benefits in terms of far higher viewability rates are plain to see.”
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