In March, we released the Integral Ad Science H2 2016 US Media Quality Report. This biannual report, based on the analysis of 200 billion impressions, highlights the current state of media quality in the U.S. online advertising industry. The report features analysis of trends in viewability, risk to brand safety, and levels of ad fraud, across both publisher direct and programmatic buys.
For the H2 2016 report, we introduced new updates to provide greater insights, including: Canadian data to round out our North American coverage, ad fraud campaign data separated into optimized (use of ad fraud prevention technology) and non-optimized (no ad fraud prevention technology employed), and consumer-level exposure data to show viewable frequency and and cumulative exposure time.
Our analysis of H2 2016 data shows that for the first time, video advertising has outperformed display. Most notably, video viewability showed significant improvement, increasing to 58.2% of video impressions being in view in H2, compared to H1 2016 where only 40% of video impressions were in view. Video is a valuable medium, providing more opportunity for advertisers to influence consumers through sight, sound, and motion. It’s a good sign that advertisers are continuing to increase investment and accountability in video. Nonetheless, as video demands higher CPMs and is highly sought-after inventory, it makes the medium more attractive and susceptible to fraudsters. Fraud on video campaigns reached up to 26.5% in H2 on non-optimized programmatic buys.
The introduction of both optimized and non-optimized ad fraud campaign data shows a stark difference between campaigns using ad fraud prevention and those that did not. For advertisers in the U.S. utilizing prevention technology, ad fraud rates were found to be 1.6%, compared to 13.2% when no fraud prevention measures were taken.
Brand safety risk decreased overall from 9.5% in H1 2016, to 8.6% in H2 2016. However, with the proliferation of politically-charged content, fake news, and extremist sites, we saw the adult, offensive language, and violence categories making up the majority of flagged content. The recent press coverage highlighting brand advertising appearing next to unsavory content shows that although brand risk may be decreasing, new brand safety issues continue to arise in changing times, and as an industry we need to remain vigilant and ensure that content verification technology is in place across all digital campaigns.
Ad fraud, brand safety, and viewability have come to the forefront of advertisers’ minds over the past year and transparency in digital has become the issue to watch for brands.