Advertising Digital Publishing
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Mobile ad performance exceeds global benchmarks

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The latest Media Quality Report provides benchmarks for viewability, brand safety and suitability, and ad fraud across digital environments and channels around the world.

As both premium and user-generated content continues to grow at unprecedented rates, the digital advertising industry has increasingly prioritised media quality verification and protection.

The content boom provides more opportunities to connect with consumers, but it also creates additional challenges for advertisers to ensure their campaigns are viewed by real humans, in environments suitable to a brand’s image and message.

Integral Ad Science (IAS), the global leader in digital ad verification, released its Media Quality Report for H2 2019, providing transparency into the performance and quality of digital media in the UK and US, alongside global comparisons.

UK viewability increases, led by mobile

For the UK, viewability* of mobile web video inventory hit 70.7% in H2 2019, exceeding the 70% in-view benchmark that desktop impressions achieved in H1 2019. 

Mobile web display ads surpassed the global viewability average of just over three-fifths (63.3%), to reach a UK benchmark nearing three-quarters (68.3%) for H2 2019. Notably, viewability within UK mobile app display achieved the second highest increase globally – increasing nearly a quarter (23.6 percentage points) year-on-year, to 68.7% of ads in view during H2 2019.

The report also shows the UK’s time-in-view benchmark for mobile app display as 25.47 seconds, surpassing the global average of 24.47 seconds. However, mobile web display in the UK was slightly down, at 14.84 seconds compared to the global average of 15.51 seconds.

US viewability mirrors the UK with strong mobile performance

For the US, it was viewability of mobile app display that reached the highest of all formats, at 75.2%. The US, exceeded the global benchmark of 68.7% of ads in view.

Nick Morley, EMEA MD at Integral Ad Science, comments: “Advertisers are making mobile viewability a priority as they mirror the shift of consumer behaviour towards increased mobile use. The digital advertising industry should be encouraged to see inventory exceeding 70% viewability in video and display, with mobile web and in-app approaching this target at speed. This is thanks to increasing vigilance from the digital advertising ecosystem when it comes to verification, with viewability rising, and ad fraud and brand risk continuing to fall. However, to continue on this positive trajectory, it is essential that ad fraud strategies and suitability thresholds are constantly reviewed and maintained.”

Other key findings of the report:

Brand risk continues to decrease, especially for video

  • The UK saw the highest improvement in brand risk for desktop video – an average of 6.4% of total ads were found to appear next to unsafe content in H2 2019, down from more than one in 10 (11.9%) in H2 2018.
  • The UK cemented itself as the second-most brand safe environment in the world for mobile web display, with only 3.7% of ads found next to unsafe content. Australia came in first at only 2.5% of ads placed next to unsuitable content for H2 2019.The UK was also the third safest country for desktop display, with only 2.6% of ads found next to unsafe content. The safest country was Italy at 1.8%, followed by Australia at 1.9% of ads found next to unsuitable desktop display content.
  • US brand risk lowest on display advertising –  For the US, desktop display risk fell from 7.3% in H2 2018 to only 6.5% in H2 2019. And mobile web display the data tells a similar story, with the total risk dropping from 8.9% to 7.9%.

Ad fraud falls below global average

  • Sitting well below the global average of 1.1% for desktop display and 0.9% for desktop video, the UK’s ad fraud risk decreased by 0.3 percentage points and 0.4 percentage points respectively since H2 2018, to reach 0.7% across the board in H2 2019.
  • Mobile web video stayed steady at only 0.5% of inventory flagged as fraudulent.
  • US ad fraud continues to decrease on desktop –  By comparison ad fraud in the US also decreased from H2 2018 to H2 2019: falling from 2.4% to 1.9% for desktop display and decreasing from 2.1% to 1.4% for desktop video.

Integral Ad Science’s H2 2019 Media Quality Report highlights brand safety, ad fraud, and viewability trends across display, video, mobile web, and in-app advertising. The Media Quality Report analysed data from trillions of global impressions, from advertising campaigns that ran between July 1st and December 31st 2019.

The full report can be viewed at:

*Viewability is determined for display and mobile ads as 50% of the ad unit in view for one continuous second, for large display ad formats as 30% of the ad unit in view for one continuous second, and for video ads as 50% of the ad unit in view for two continuous seconds, as per MRC standards.