Brands wasted more than £600m on unseen ads last year

Advertisers in the UK spent about £606m to pay for online ads last year that were not in view for the one second recommended by the IAB and Media Ratings Council.

Brands wasted more than £600m on unseen ads last year

In the last quarter of 2016, less than half the banner ads served met the minimum threshold requirement of half the ads in view for at least one second, finds the latest quarterly report from ad verification company, Meetrics.

This was no improvement on the third quarter, and a noticeable drop from the 54% viewability level in the first three months of 2016.

"Despite the ongoing attention and initiatives focused on addressing viewability, things just aren’t really improving," said Anant Joshi, Meetrics’ director of international business. "Yes, you can argue viewability has stabilised over the last couple of quarters and is marginally up on 6 months ago but the reality is, viewability levels are lower than a year ago and over half of ads served still aren’t viewable."

The UK trails behind other European nations in terms of viewability levels, continued the report. Austrian ads are at 68%, Germany at 58% and France at 57%.

"There’s a lot of energy and focus going into measuring viewability but nowhere near enough on building on that insight and proactively optimising for viewability, particularly on programmatic campaigns," says Joshi. 

It would be simple enough, he noted, to exclude or de-list under-performing domains from any automated buying platform. "This means buying from the higher performing domains can be increased… [which] would see viewability rise significantly in 2017."

An earlier report by Meetrics, released last year found that the surge in programmatic buying in the UK was to blame for the abrupt drop in ad viewability.