The current state of media quality in the UK

09/14 By IAS Team

The Integral Ad Science (IAS) H1 2017 UK Media Quality Report highlights brand safety, ad fraud, and viewability trends for both UK desktop and video advertising, and additionally now includes global mobile web and in-app advertising data.

The latest report analysed data from nearly 300 billion global impressions for advertising campaigns that ran between 1st January and 30th June 2017. The report illustrates the state of online inventory during the first half of 2017, through analysing key indicators of media quality of campaigns across the U.K. and global markets.

For the H1 2017 report, we introduced new updates to provide greater insights into media quality around the globe, with additional data for Japan, Spain, Italy, Brazil, and Singapore. The report also now includes mobile data for both mobile web and in-app, and video data for the UK market. Furthermore, ad fraud data has been updated to give a greater picture of its potential impact. Ad fraud is now separated into optimised (data from campaign impressions where use of ad fraud prevention technology was present) and non-optimised (data from campaign impressions where no ad fraud prevention technology was employed).

The H1 2017 report reveals that UK desktop brand safety risk – the risk of an ad impression serving on a page with inappropriate or unsavoury content – has fallen, decreasing from 6.8% in H2 2016 to 3.7% in H1 2017. The report findings show that online content categorised as graphically violent content has experienced a reduction in risk to UK brands advertising online. Of all UK programmatic impressions served during H1 2017 those flagged as posing a risk to brand reputation due to serving adjacent to violent content, fell by 22.9% from the previous half year, from 29.9% in H2 2016 to 21.1% in H1 2017.

Understanding media quality nuances across devices is paramount for brands running global campaigns. Whilst UK brand risk is declining in desktop display, the same trends have not been seen across other key markets, for example:

  • Brand safety risk for video advertising increased by just over 20% from H2 2016, with brand risk reaching 10.7% in H1 2017 globally.
  • Brand risk for global mobile web impressions was found to be at 8.5%, with highest risk being found in content categorised as adult and violent content.

These findings highlight the importance of truly understanding the variance of media quality across channels before planning campaigns, as this may impact how a brand approaches and sets their brand safety parameters.

Alongside the decrease in risk to brands advertising online in desktop, desktop display viewability was also found to decreased slightly from H2 2016. Of all impressions served, the percentage of impressions found to be meeting the MRC standard for desktop was found to be 48%.

The longer an ad remains in view, the greater the opportunity to engage consumers. The percentage of ads that remained in view for more than 15 seconds stayed consistent with findings from the H2 2016 report data, with 17.4% of impressions being in view at 15 seconds for H1 2017 and 18.3% for H2 2016. This data proves that it remains a challenge to achieve longer than average in view time.

Selecting the right ad format can make all the difference when it comes to viewability. When analysing viewability by ad size, the Double MPU continues to achieve the highest viewability rate at 69.3%, whilst the Leaderboard still achieves the lowest viewability rate at 41.2%.

Contrastingly, the latest report highlights that in the UK there was an increase in ad fraud during H1 2017. Ad fraud continually evolves as a threat and new browser versions, new botnets, and new criminal schemes will always impact levels of ad fraud across markets. Optimised ad fraud (data from impressions where ad fraud technology was employed) saw a slight increase to 0.5% in H1 2017 and non optimised fraud increased to 7.4% in H1 2017. The fight against ad fraud is an arms race as fraudsters are always adapting their tactics as buying habits change.

Overall we can see that when comparing results from our H2 2016 report, the H1 2017 report indicates that the UK now has improved for brand safety, slight decreased for viewability levels, and  there is now a slightly greater exposure to ad fraud. The quality of media has truly come to the forefront of the advertising industry over the past six months and transparency in digital has become the issue to address for brands and publishers alike. Only with insights into the campaign data and how quality can be impacted by factors such as ad fraud, viewability and brand safety, can we begin to address these challenges.

For more insights, download our H1 2017 UK Media Quality Report.