Programmatic drives media quality improvements

10/26 By IAS team

MQR H1 2020

IAS recently released its latest Media Quality Report for H1 2020, providing transparency into the performance and quality of UK digital media, alongside global comparisons. The report provides benchmarks for levels of viewability, brand risk, and ad fraud across digital environments and channels in 15 major digital markets. 

Here are the key media quality trends impacting the UK:

Media quality, brand risk

Risk reduces for UK advertisers

In a year of transformative global events and increased digital content consumption, risk posed to brand advertising appearing next to content deemed inappropriate continued to drop everywhere except desktop display environments between H2 2019 and H1 2020. This continued improvement in risk in the UK can in part be attributed  to the increased use of verification technology and advertisers applying  pre-bid filters to their campaigns. 

  • Overall, mobile web video environments experienced the greatest improvement in brand risk. An average of 6.6% of all UK mobile web video ad impressions were found to appear next to content deemed risky to brand reputation, compared to 7.8% in H2 2019. With programmatic buys, mobile web video risk fell 24 percent  to 5.6% when compared to H2 2019. 
  • The UK was found to be the fourth safest country for desktop video, with only 5.7% of UK video impressions found next to unsafe content. For desktop video impressions sourced via programmatic channels, the risk of ads being placed next to undesirable content decreased by 10 percent to 5.3% in H1 2020.
  • The mobile web display environment was the second safest for advertisers in the UK, only 3.3% of mobile display impressions in the UK appeared next to inappropriate content during the first half of 2020. 
  • Even though desktop display impressions saw an increased risk, only 3.1% of UK desktop impressions were at risk of being placed next to unsuitable content, earning the UK fifth place in the global ranking. 

Media quality UK viewability


Viewability continues to rise in the UK 

During H1 2020, viewability of UK ad impressions continued to rise across all formats and environments, hitting the highest levels ever seen. For the first time, nearly three-quarters of all UK ad impressions were in-view, with viewability levels exceeding 72.5%.

  • Mobile app display saw the biggest increase, with 73.5% of mobile app ads in view. The improvement was largely driven by programmatically transacted inventory, where media quality for viewability increased by 5.1 percentage points to 73.0% when compared with H2 2019
  • Despite video viewability levels improving to 73.5% for desktop video and 72.5% for mobile web video, viewability levels for both remained below the global average. 
  • Programmatically sourced desktop video impressions surpassed the three-quarters in-view mark at 75.1% of impressions in-view, ranking this environment the most viewable for the UK. 

Ad fraud remains low for UK advertising industry

Overall, ad fraud levels in the UK remained steady with all inventory optimised against fraudulent activity found to be on par, or below the worldwide average. 

  • The UK’s ad fraud risk sits below the global average of 0.8% for desktop display, with 0.6% of impressions flagged as being impacted by fraud
  • Desktop video ad fraud also reduced lowering by 0.4% percentage points since H2 2019, to reach 0.6%
  • Mobile web display saw only 0.5% of inventory flagged as fraudulent
  • For mobile web video impressions, ad fraud levels at 0.4% were the lowest across all UK formats.

During the coronavirus pandemic media quality took centre stage for the digital advertising ecosystem. We have seen an increased focus on brand suitability and risk management. Advertisers have turned to contextual technologies to ensure that their advertising does not inadvertently appear adjacent to hateful content or misinformation. Couple this with ad fraud levels remaining low when utilising IAS fraud mitigation technology and a continued improvement in viewability, and it’s clear UK marketers have been focused on realising efficiencies with their advertising budgets.

Download the full report here and learn how the quality of your ad campaigns and inventory measure up.

To see previous reports, go to:

Media Quality Report H2 2019

Media Quality Report H1 2019

Media Quality Report H2 2018

Media Quality Report H1 2018