The current state of media quality in digital advertising

12/02 By IAS Team
Measuring tape

The Integral Ad Science Q3 2015 UK Media Quality Report highlights the current state of media quality in online advertising, presenting an analysis of trends in viewability, online brand safety risk and ad fraud.

The UK’s digital advertising industry is coming together to tackle the main challenges such as viewability and fraud, but there are still a few hurdles to overcome.  Video advertising and programmatic both have some way to go in terms of media quality.

The latest report from Integral Ad Science reveals that in the third quarter of this year, 54.5% of UK display ads were not viewable, for video this increased to 67.9% of ad impressions not in view.  Video also fares poorly in brand safety risk, which almost doubles to 16% of video ad impressions having the potential to appear adjacent to inappropriate content. Additionally, rates of ad fraud in Q3 2015 were slightly higher in video compared to display; fraudulent activity seen in ad impressions reached 10.1% in video and 9.1% in display.

The Q3 2015 report additionally highlights that quality of media increases when doing publisher direct deals, as opposed to working through networks and exchanges (programmatic channels). Viewability of display ads in publisher direct deals was 52.8% whereas when working programmatically, viewability decreased to 44.3%. Similarly, brand safety risk for publisher direct was 6.3% of ads seen as posing a risk, but this increased to 9.6% for networks and exchanges. Fraudulent activity was found to reach 10.5% in programmatic channels whereas it decreased to just 4.2% in publisher direct deals. The Q3 report highlights that programmatic media still has some challenges to overcome in terms of quality.

For the first time, the Q3 2015 UK report included data that showed that the Double MPU (300×600) was the most successful ad size in terms of viewability, achieving a viewability rate of 58% in view. In second place was the Skyscraper (160×600), achieving a viewability rate of 54.6% in view. Interestingly, the report revealed that the Leaderboard (728×90) ad unit, which has traditionally been the most valued ad size as it is primarily placed above the fold, has the worst viewability rate at only 40.6% in view. This insight highlights changes in online user behaviour, where users are now likely scrolling straight down to desired content.

Online ad fraud is another major challenge addressed in the latest report from Integral Ad Science. Ad fraud in display saw a decline of 25% between Q2 and Q3 2015, from 10.9% to 9.1% of impressions with suspicious activity detected. This data reflects the recent united efforts from the UK digital advertising industry to tackle online advertising fraud, with the joint-industry JICWEBS Anti-Fraud Commercial working group announcing their definitions and best practices for addressing online ad fraud.

 The UK’s digital advertising industry has come a long way in addressing current issues but significant challenges remain. Advertising spend continues to be siphoned off by fraudsters, ads are not given the opportunity to be seen, all leading to ads not reaching their intended digital audience. The recent work from different elements within the industry, such as the IAB UK’s Believes initiative, are creating greater awareness and education. The path for greater online advertising effectiveness is being paved.

Read the article here.

Read the report here.