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UK online ad viewability hits lowest level in 18 months

14 Jul 2016  |  Ellen Hammett 
UK online ad viewability hits lowest level in 18 months

Online ad viewability levels in the UK decreased dramatically from 54% to 47% in the second quarter of 2016, the lowest level for 18 months, according to a new report from ad verification company Meetrics.

A surge in programmatic buying and re-loading of ads to increase inventory are thought to be the main causes - with the UK now lagging significantly behind other European countries including Austria (69%), France (62%) and Germany (60%).

The last time viewability levels were this low was in Q4 2014, when the figure was at 46%.

"Viewability in the UK is more volatile than other major European markets due to the higher penetration of programmatic and automated ad buying," said Anant Joshi, Meetrics' director of international business.

"The surge in ads bought programmatically contributed to the decline in viewability, which was compounded by publishers upping the speed at which ads are re-loaded 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."

Based on the IAB/PwC's adspend figures, Joshi estimates that the 53% of non-viewable banner ads in the UK - at least 50% of an ad must be viewable for 1 second or more to be considered 'viewable' - is costing advertisers around £700 million a year.

The high viewability figures for the Austrian market are thought to be a result of a recent 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.

"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," Joshi added.

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01 Jul 2020 

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