Despite viewability crackdown just two thirds of UK display ads meet minimum guidelines

The numbers are marginally down on last quarter where 59% of ads met the minimum guideline.

Despite a focus from household brands and trade bodies on upping viewability, just under two-thirds of UK display ads are meeting the minimum guidelines set by the Media Ratings Council (MRC).

As per the widely-accepted standards, online ads are only deemed viewable if at least 50% of their surface appears in the visible area of browser for at least one second. According to fresh data from Meetrics, however, Q2 of 2018 saw just 58% of banner ads meet this requirement.

Although it’s an improvement on 2017, when the UK figure sat at 51%, the numbers are marginally down on last quarter where 59% of ads met the minimum guideline.

64% of halfpage ads served against UK inventory met the MRC’s criteria, compared to just 57% of mid-page units (MPUs). Less than half (48%) of leaderboard ads qualified as viewable.

Overall, the UK is lagging behind other markets – in Austria 73% of banner ads met the MRC standard, in Sweden it was 64%. The international average in Q2 was 61%.

On average, Meetrics found that UK consumers actually view display ads for five-seconds more than their international counterparts – watching for 26.2 seconds.

While this number compares favourably to other countries, the World Federation of advertisers still estimates that around £600m is wasted by brands on non-viewable ads.

Philipp von Hilgers, managing director and co-founder of Meetrics said: "The UK market has historically been in last place for viewability, but optimisation measures are finally taking effect.

"Viewability levels for display are stabilising, and values are improving over the long-term. Nevertheless, the UK still has work to do to catch up with performance rates internationally.”

While big spenders like P&G and Unilever have doubled down on upping, and refining the way they measure, viewability as part of ongoing efficiency drives, their top marketers are split on what exactly the standard should be.

Unilever's Keith Weed, for instance, subscribes to the 100% view. Others like rival Procter and Gamble (P&G) believe in the standard set by the MRC.

Just months ago, the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers (Isba) launched a 100% viewability standard in the UK, calling for brands to be given the facility to buy digital display ads in 100% view.

Get The Drum Newsletter

Build your marketing knowledge by choosing from daily news bulletins or a weekly special.