H2 2020 Media Quality Report

04/19 By IAS team

Australian Digital Advertisers Experience Higher Brand Risks Across All Buying According to the Latest Report by IAS 

The latest Media Quality Report provides global benchmarks for viewability, brand safety and suitability, and ad fraud across digital environments and channels

SYDNEY, 19 April 2021: Today, Integral Ad Science (IAS), a global leader in digital ad verification, released its Media Quality Report (MQR) for H2 2020, providing transparency into the performance and quality of Australian digital media, alongside global comparisons. Integral Ad Science’s H2 2020 MQR highlights brand safety, ad fraud, and viewability trends across display, video, mobile web, and in-app advertising. 

Key insights from the report include:

Brand Risk Increased Across Channels 

IAS measures brand risk global as the portion of pages scored by IAS as medium or higher risk to brands. After a year of unexpected news and events, Australian brand risk increased across media environments in H2 2020. 

Brand risk on desktop display rose from 1.9% in H2 2019 to 2.9% in H2 2020. Brand risk on desktop video increased from 2.2% in H2 2019 to 3.6% in H2 2020. Mobile web video saw an increase of 0.4 percentage points (pp) year on year (YoY) to 4.6% in H2 2020, with the worldwide average at 8.6% brand risk levels in H2 2020. For New Zealand, the brand risk on desktop display reduced from 5.1% in H2 2019 to 3.7% in H2 2020.

In H2 2020, video impressions witnessed increased brand risk worldwide, a trend that tended to correlate to increased video consumption and video ad impression volumes as a result of consumer stay-at-home behaviors. Adult content was the primary driver of increased brand risk across all formats worldwide, often followed by hate speech.

Mobile web display showed an increase in brand risk in Australia too, rising by 1.7 percentage points from 2.5% in H2 2019 to 4.2% in H2 2020, in a year defined by tragic domestic events. Brand risk for New Zealand in mobile web display fell to 5.9% in H2 2020, an annual reduction of 0.8 percentage points. 

Jessica Miles, Country Manager ANZ at Integral Ad Science, says, “The past year brought about a different type of risky content, and marketers were divided on their approach. Some continued to run their advertising adjacent to coronavirus content and some withdrew from the media completely. As the situation evolved, marketers adopted a more nuanced approach, considering the context and sentiment of the adjacent content to drive audience engagement in high-quality, contextually suitable environments.” She continues, “Brand risk is a very important metric to consider and has a direct impact on a brand’s reputation with the potential to adversely impact brand value. Programmatic pre-bid targeting facilitates buying quality impressions and reducing wastage. As we emerge from the challenges of the past year and with the huge shift to programmatic, there is a greater focus on efficiency and as marketers, we’ve learned that Contextual Targeting is a viable, privacy-compliant solution for driving efficiencies, engagement, and ROI.”

Australia’s Mobile App Display Viewability Increased 

Viewability rose most in mobile app display environments, reaching a 72.1% worldwide average. This is likely as a result of wider adoption of the IAB Tech Lab’s Open Measurement Software Development Kit (OM SDK). Australia’s mobile app display viewability rose from 69.9% in H2 2019 to 73.0% in H2 2020, an increase of 3.1 pp. Viewability on mobile web video in Australia reduced by 3.9 pp to 67.0% in H2 2020 whereas the global average viewability stood at 73.7%.

New Zealand reported a drastic reduction in mobile app display viewability, down 12.4 pp to 49.8% in H2 2020; the lowest globally.   

In H2 2020, global desktop video viewability witnessed a marginal decrease, and remained one of the most viewable formats, trailing only mobile web video. Compared to H2 2019, viewability on desktop display inventory decreased worldwide. 

Ad Fraud Rates on Desktop Video Increased

Australia witnessed an increase in ad fraud on desktop video, which saw an optimised against-ad-fraud rate of 1.6%, twice the average rate a year earlier. The worldwide optimised desktop video ad fraud rate remained stable at 0.8% in H2 2020.

Australia showed slight decreases in ad fraud levels on mobile web video (0.1 pp decrease to 0.5% in H2 2020) and on mobile web display (0.2 pp decrease to 0.5% in H2 2020).

In H2 2020, global ad fraud rates improved overall. Optimised-against-ad-fraud levels dropped across all devices and environments reported. The reductions ensured average ad fraud rates stayed below 1.0% in all formats.

Our Media Quality Report shares unique insights extracted from the trillions of data events we measure globally each month. The full report can be downloaded below.