UK desktop display ad viewability breaks 70% barrier for first time

Integral Ad Science report shows 'consistent decrease' for brand risk.

Viewability: report uses MRC measurement standards
Viewability: report uses MRC measurement standards

Online ad viewability is at the highest level it has ever been in the UK, according to new figures from Integral Ad Science. 

The ad-vertification company’s latest Media Quality Report shows desktop display viewability reached 70.9% during the first half of 2019. 

It is the first time that desktop display ads in the UK have broken the 70% barrier and represents an increase of 7.5 percentage points year on year.

The UK exceeds the global average of 61.6% for desktop display viewability and is second only to Canada (73.6%) among the world’s biggest online ad markets. 

Meanwhile, the report shows a "consistent decrease" for brand risk in the UK, with a 1.7 percentage point decline from 4.5% in the first half of 2018 to 2.8% in the same period this year. The UK is third in the global risk rankings for ads found next to unsuitable content, behind Italy (1.9%) and Australia (2.5%), while the worldwide average is 4.7%.

Nick Morley, EMEA managing director at Integral Ad Science, said the UK’s consistent appearance in the top rankings showcased the high quality of UK digital advertising. "It’s thanks to this level of granular and global insight that brands can protect their advertising investments in a fragmented ecosystem and ensure they drive the greatest return," Morley added.

Viewability rates remain much higher for desktop video: the global average is 71.9% (up from 69.4% in 2018), with Italy and Australia having the best rates at 77.9% and 77% respectively.

Mobile display ads, however, are seen much less, with a 60.4% (up from 52.2% in 2018) global average and a wider variance between markets. Canada and the UK have a leading 64.7% viewability rate, while Japan’s is only 40.6%. 

The numbers are generally higher for mobile display ads within apps: a 62.3% average (53.5% in 2018), with the US leading the way at 67.3%.

In the UK, mobile in-app environments also drove the highest in-view duration at 22.52 seconds, the report shows, compared with 21.67 seconds for desktop display. The global average is 23.53 seconds.

The Media Quality Report analysed data from trillions of global impressions across ad campaigns that ran between 1 January and 30 June. 

"Viewability" is determined by Media Rating Council standards, which say 50% of an ad must be in view for one continuous second for display and mobile. Large display formats must have 30% in view for one continuous second, while video ads must be 50% in view for two continuous seconds.

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