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Technology Programmatic

Programmatic buys fuel boost to UK digital media quality


By John Glenday, Reporter

October 6, 2020 | 3 min read

UK programmatic buys outperformed global averages across desktop display, desktop video, mobile web display and mobile web video in the first half of 2020, according to Integral Ad Science (IAS). Its Media Quality Report for H1 2020 made the finding after analysing trillions of global ad impressions between January and June. The Drum digs deeper to establish what this means.


Programmatic buys are fueling a boost to UK digital media quality.

Improvements to brand safety and viewability

  • The UK has emerged as a global leader in reducing brand risk for video inventory purchased programmatically.

  • Across the first half of the year, mobile web video programmatic risk receded by 1.8% to 5.6%, compared to the second half of 2019. The trend was particularly visible in desktop video, where the likelihood of creative ending up alongside nefarious content shrunk 0.6%, to 5.3%, over the same period.

  • These trends compare favourably with the international picture, with the UK outperforming its peers in all categories from desktop display, desktop video and mobile web display to mobile web video.

  • Explaining this success Nick Morley, EMEA MD at IAS said: “The strong performance of programmatic buys is most likely due to the wide use of pre-bid filters. This data should offer UK advertisers the confidence to further invest in programmatic to drive efficiency for their campaigns across platforms.”

  • Improved safety viewability metrics, defined as 50% of an ad remaining in view for a single continuous second, are also on the rise across all formats and environments.

  • This is attributed to strong programmatic performance throughout the survey period, when mobile app display inventory saw an increase in viewable impressions of 5.1%, to stand at 73%.

  • Desktop video programmatic buys registered 75.1% viewability.

However, ad fraud levels remain steady

  • The picture looks less promising where ad fraud is concerned, with levels remaining constant throughout the first half, roughly on par with the global average.

  • One area where progress has been made is Mobile web video where fraudulent activity for programmatic buys shrank 0.2% to 0.4%.

  • Morley added: “Advertisers have turned to contextual technologies to ensure that their advertising does not inadvertently appear next to hateful content or fund misinformation, while successfully expanding consumer reach.“

  • The IAS report follows hot on the heels of yesterday“s IAB survey which found increased efficiencies in data and targeting are translating to increased programmatic ad spend growth.

Technology Programmatic

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Integral Ad Science

Integral Ad Science (IAS) is a global leader in digital media quality. IAS makes every impression count, ensuring that ads are viewable by real people, in safe and...

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