£600m wasted on non-viewable online ads

Advertisers lost over £600m to non-viewable online adverts last year, according to ad verification company Meetrics.

£606m lost to ads not in view

Looking at 2016 as a whole, over half of banner adverts failed to meet the IAB and Media Ratings Council’s recommendation that 50% of an ad was in view for at least 1 second. Despite a promising start in the first quarter (where 54% of ads served met the requirements) the remaining three quarters fell below the mark.

In total £606m was lost from advertisers’ pockets to non-viewable adverts.

This fuels the ongoing debate over viewabiltiy – what defines it and how advertisers should ultimately measyre (and pay). As The Drum recently reported, viewability is set to re-emerge as one of the key issues to watch throughout 2017 as will see the discussions around 100% viewability. Unilever’s top marketer, Keith Weed, for example is conclusive in his judgement that he should only be paying for an ad if it is 100% in view.

Although not everyone would agree – aiming for 100% puts an advertiser at risk of doing more harm than good to a campaign, according to ISBA – the findings from Meetrics indicate that despite the ongoing attention and initiatives to improve viewability, online ads continue to fall short.

“Yes, you can argue viewability has stabilised over the last couple of quarters and is marginally up on six months ago but the reality is viewability levels are lower than a year ago and over half of ads served still aren’t viewable,” said Anant Joshi, director of international business at Meetrics.

Compared to other European countries, Meetrics found that UK remains significantly behind others in terms of viewability levels: Austria is at 68%, Germany at 58% and France at 57%.

“There’s a lot of energy and focus going into measuring viewability but nowhere near enough on building on that insight and proactively optimising for viewability, particularly on programmatic campaigns,” added Joshi.

“For example, it’s very easy to extract a list of under-performing domains – be it viewability or view time – and exclude or de-list them from any automated buying platform. This means buying from the higher performing domains can be increased. A greater focus on simple steps such as these would see viewability rise significantly in 2017.”

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