WPP boss Sir Martin Sorrell has thrown his weight behind growing concerns about the effectiveness of digital media by claiming the group’s clients are increasingly wary of the channel, following evidence many online ads they pay for go unseen.
His remarks follow a huge rise in the take-up of ad blocking software, which, according to a recent report from PageFair and Adobe, is expected to wipe out nearly £50bn worth of global online advertising next year.
Meanwhile, European ad verification company Meetrics has calculated that £485m worth of online ads have never even been seen, due to issues with programmatic buying.
As part of its response, the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) UK recently mounted a stiff defence of the industry by launching a week-long campaign clarifying its position on each of the five biggest concerns facing the sector, including ad viewability.
It stated: “The IAB believes in maximising ad viewability. Working across the industry with accredited technology partners to develop cross platform standards, our goal is to achieve effective viewability, engagement and attention for advertisers’ online campaigns.”
Sorrell’s group does not appear to have been hit yet, however. WPP’s latest results show a UK revenue increase of 9.7% to £860m, with the group’s global pre-tax profit reaching £709.7m, up 45.6% in constant currency.
While some the rise was attributed to improved operating performance, the majority was put down to what it called “net exceptional gains on the sale and revaluation of investments”.
Revenue was reported at £5.84bn, up 6.4% in constant currency, in the six months to 30 June 2015.
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