Slow Progress For Ad Quality On Exchanges

Ad viewability may be one of the most important issues for digital marketers today, but progress has been slow. Just over half (51.3%) of ads were viewable on ad exchanges in Q1 2014, a marginal increase over the 47.4% rate from Q4 2013.

That’s according to Integral Ad Science, which on Monday released a quarterly media report for Q1 2014.  Integral says the data in the report comes from ads bought on “nearly all” major ad exchanges through five major demand-side platforms (DSPs).

Despite minimal quarter-over-quarter improvement on the viewability front, Integral expects the rate to rise in its next quarterly media report, citing the Media Rating Council's recent lift of its viewability advisory.

But viewability is not the only measuring stick Integral uses to determine media quality. The company also looks at brand safety and ad fraud, as well as its own "true advertising quality” score, which Integral scores through a mix of fraud, viewability, ad clutter, brand safety and professionalism ratings.

The “true advertising quality” (TRAQ) score for exchanges was 578 (out of 1000) in Q1 2014, down from its score of 597 the previous quarter. Ad networks -- which also had a TRAQ score of 597 in Q4 -- checked in at 601 in Q1. Direct publisher deals had a Q1 score of 701, up from 684 the previous quarter.

Exchanges continued to keep “suspicious activity” at bay in Q1, but made no progress over Q4. Integral deemed 13% of inventory traded on exchanges in Q1 “suspicious,” the same amount as Q4. While not an improvement, it’s good the industry did not regress in this category -- 30% of inventory was “suspicious” in Q3 2013.

Integral says the brand safety risk for buying through ad exchanges is 8.9%. The brand safety risk through ad networks was 8.6% and direct with publishers was 4.1%.

Integral has also announced that advertisers can now target media based on its TRAQ score through AppNexus, Google DoubleClick Bid Manager and Turn.

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