NEWS23 July 2015

£485m spent on unseen UK display ads in 2014

News UK

UK — Less than half of online ads served in the UK currently meet the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) and Media Ratings Council’s (MRC) viewability recommendations, according to new research.

Figures from Q2 2015 showed that just 49% of UK online ads could be considered ‘viewable’ based on the IAB and MRC definition of 50% of the ad being in view for at least one second. In Q2 2014, that figure was 56%. This is according to research from European ad verification company Meetrics.

This proportion is well below that of Germany ( 64%) and France ( 62%), where automated ad buying techniques such as programmatic are less common. According to a recent IAB study, 45% of UK ads were bought programmatically in 2014, compared with 28% in 2013. This is predicted to rise to 70-80% in the next three years.

When Meetrics cross-referenced its data with that of the IAB’s digital ad spend report, it estimated that around £485m was spent last year on display ads that weren’t seen.

“There’s no doubt programmatic brings many benefits to advertisers but there’s a flip side to every coin,” said Anant Joshi, Meetrics’ director of international business. “It’s certainly less transparent than buying directly and there’s also a big question mark about the quality of much of the inventory sold this way and, clearly, that most of it never ends up being seen.”