The rise in mobile advertising spend is contributing to falling ad viewability levels, according to the latest quarterly benchmark report from ad verification company Meetrics.
In the first quarter of 2017, the proportion of banner ads served that met minimum viewability guidelines dropped from 49% to 47% in the UK – the lowest level for nine months. Based on the recent IAB and PwC figures, the company consequently believes around £750m per year is wasted on non-viewable ads.
Ads are deemed viewable if they meet the IAB and Media Ratings Council’s recommendation that 50% of the ad is in view for at least one second.
“Declining viewability is partly driven by mobile now accounting for over half of display ad spend but they tend to have lower viewability rates than desktop for various reasons,” says Anant Joshi, Meetrics’ commercial director UK and Ireland.
“Obviously, the smaller screen size can mean more page scrolling and, thus, more chance of ads being missed lower down a page, plus slower network connection speeds can cause ad loading delays. There’s also the legacy issue of desktop ads served on mobile which don’t format properly, despite the use of responsive design.”
Joshi believes these issues are worsened by the increasing amount of mobile content consumed via apps, in which ads are more likely to be at the bottom of a page so don’t always get enough attention.
However, he’s keen to point out these “aren’t just UK issues, we’re seeing them across all markets”.
Germany saw a three percentage point decline in viewability to an all-time low of 55%, Austria dropped a single point to 67%, while France rose three points to 60% – all still significantly ahead of the UK’s 47%.
He concludes: “Unfortunately, we’re still seeing a lot of talk but not the required intense effort to increase viewability and improve campaign ROI. This needs to change.”