Advertising viewability is a big problem for the UK – £750 million may be wasted on non-viewable ads this year

Mobile advertising has now overtaken desktop in the UK and US according to the IAB.

However, one problem remains – viewability. According to new research from advertising verification firm Meetrics, the UK has some of the worst viewability rates for banner ads across all of Europe.

Just 47% of banner ads in the UK met the minimum recommended viewability guidelines by the Media Ratings Council – 50% of the advert need to be in view for at least one second. That’s already a pretty low standard and the fact that it’s not being met by the majority of banner ads is rather worrying.

These calculations would equate to £750 million per year being lost on non-viewable ads (based on IAB/PwC figures).

Germany fared slightly better at a viewability rate of 55%. However, that represents a drop of three points for the country. Meanwhile, Austria boasts a display viewability rate of 67% and France has 60%.

So who’s to blame? Mobile, it seems. The rise in mobile advertising spend appears to be directly relating to a decline in ad viewability rates. This worsening in viewability largely hinges on the lack of unviewable inventory within mobile marketing.

Anant Joshi, Meetrics’ cCommercial Director UK & Ireland, explains:

“Declining viewability is partly driven by mobile now accounting for over half of display ad spend, but tending to have lower viewability rates than desktop for various reasons. 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.”

In addition, adverts at the bottom of an app may not always get the same amount of attention as ads at the top of an app page.

These findings suggest that the transition from desktop to mobile in display advertising won’t be smooth. However, other channels such as social, content influencers and videos are likely to receive some shifting attention. Joshi 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.”