The differences in media quality across the globe

09/29 By IAS Team

Our Media Quality Reports help you invest in digital with greater confidence by illustrating the state of online inventory today, for both display and video ads, across desktop and mobile. To provide this report, we analysed data from 300 billion global impressions. The latest media quality report analysed data from advertising campaigns that ran between 1st January and 30th June 2017.

In the latest report, we introduced data for Japan, Spain, Italy, Brazil, and Singapore. Adding insights into these additional markets gives a greater overall view of media quality around the world. Each market has different nuances and maturity levels that need to be taken into consideration when comparing levels of ad fraud, viewability and risk to brand safety.  

Ad Fraud

For the Media Quality Report, we show the impact of fraud if there are steps being taken to detect and prevent fraud (optimised against ad fraud) and the potential impact if no action is being taken (non-optimised ad fraud). When comparing non-optimised fraud numbers, we see that the Italian market has the higher potential to be impacted by fraud, with 16.1% of impressions flagged as fraudulent. Contrastingly, Italy’s nearby neighbour, Spain, was found this half year to have the lowest potential impact of ad fraud, with 3.0% fraud found for non-optimised campaigns. When looking at data from impressions where proactive steps had been taken against ad fraud, we can see that the variance is greatly reduced, from 0.1% (in Singapore) up to 0.7% (in Japan).

New browser versions, new botnets, and new criminal schemes are all reasons why we see fluctuations in fraud levels across not only markets but also across devices and buy types – programmatic versus publisher direct buys. As media buying habits change, ad fraud evolves as a threat as fraudsters adapt tactics and look to game more automated processes.

Brand safety

The rise in awareness around brand safety concerns and the varying risks posed to both brand image and reputation  when advertising online has now brought brand safety to the top of industry discussions in 2017. Looking at brand risk globally, the impressions flagged as appearing adjacent to content that poses a risk to brand reputation, we found that  Brazil had the highest level of risk of all markets analysed with 10.2% of impressions flagged. This was followed closely by the US with nearly one in ten impressions flagged as appearing with inappropriate content, at 9.4%. In comparison, the lowest level of risk was seen in Singapore with 3.4%  of impressions flagged as appearing next to inappropriate content, followed closely by the UK at 3.7%. Brand safety is not a new issue; it is a recurrent topic that flares up over the years and as a result we have seen many brands adjust their brand safety strategies accordingly to ensure that the risk to their reputation is minimised when advertising online.


Viewability remains a top media quality issue as we begin to shift to an industry measured by impressions seen, rather than impressions served.  Brands no longer wish to pay for advertising that doesn’t have the opportunity to be viewed by consumers. Alongside this, different agency groups are now setting their own definitions of viewability, in a bid to improve viewability and engagement across their clients campaigns. All these moves are bringing us closer to trading on viewability. In the H1 2017 Media Quality Report we found that Singapore achieved highest viewability with 64% of impressions being in-view as per the MRC standard – 50% of pixels rendered on screen for at least one second. The next best viewability was seen in Germany, with 58.1% of impressions meeting the MRC threshold. The markets that still have some way to go in terms of improving viewability across the board were Italy, where 60% of impressions do not meet the MRC requirement, the UK with 52% of ads are not providing the opportunity to be viewed by consumers.

The differences in media quality vary across the globe, and the report findings highlight the importance of understanding media quality variances especially when running campaigns for global audiences.  Our bi-annual Media Quality Report provides the industry with a holistic view of the media landscape. With this information, you are better equipped to navigate the digital landscape, confirm your current investments, and uncover new opportunities to activate consumers. Ultimately, every impression should have the opportunity to be effective – brand safe, fraud free and the opportunity to be seen – by understanding this first, marketers can then make informed decisions to ensure the best campaign performance and publishers can ensure the best efficiency of their inventory.

Download our Media Quality Reports here.