Viewability Crashes, Drops To 44%

The ad industry still hasn’t cracked the viewability nut.

During the second quarter of 2015, only 44% of digital display ads were viewable. That’s down from the 49.4% viewability rate the industry saw during the second quarter of 2014.

The data comes from Integral Ad Science’s second-quarter 2015 media quality report. The company notes that these worsening rates indicate “that the industry has been slow to improve viewability rates despite increasing pressure from advertisers.”

It has been a drawn-out struggle. Integral’s previous quarterly reports that 41.8% of display ads traded on networks and exchanges were viewable during the first quarter of 2015 and 42.6% were viewable in the fourth quarter of 2014.

“The decrease in viewability rates year-over-year shows us that there is still a great deal of work to be done,” stated Scott Knoll, CEO of Integral Ad Science.



A display ad is deemed “viewable” if at least 50% of its pixels are in-view for at least one continuous second, per the Media Rating Council’s (MRC) standard.

Impressions on networks and exchanges were viewable 39.9% of the time during the second quarter. For ads sold direct with publishers, just over half (50.1%) were viewable.

The report also touches on other areas of ad quality outside of viewability, such as fraud rates. Some 14.1% of display ad impressions traded on networks and exchanges during the second quarter of 2015 were fraudulent -- a slight improvement over the 16.5% fraud rate posted during the first quarter of this year. Ads traded direct with publishers fared significantly better, posting a fraud rate of 3.7%.

Integral noted that 13% of display impressions traded on networks and exchanges during the quarter posed some type of brand risk. About one-in-ten (10.7%) of impressions were considered “moderate” brand risks, while 1.7% of impressions were deemed to pose a “high” threat to brands and 0.6% posed a “very high” threat.

Overall, Integral noted that the “true advertising quality” score of display ads traded via networks and exchanges was 584 (on a scale of 1,000). This is slight increase over the 551 score posted during the first quarter of 2015. The “true advertising quality” score is determined by a mix of measurements, including fraud, viewability, ad clutter, brand safety and professionalism.

On the video front, Integral’s data suggests that the quality of video ads traded via automation is improving. Viewability rates on video ads are still below display -- video ads traded on networks and exchanges were viewable only 37.2% of the time during the quarter -- but video fraud decreased from 14% to 11.6% between the first and second quarters, and video brand risk decreased from 22.7% to 15.4%.

3 comments about "Viewability Crashes, Drops To 44%".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, August 13, 2015 at 1:28 p.m.

    If only 44% of display ads were viewable, using the IAB's seller-friendly standard, one can only wonder what the figure would be were a more ad-friendly definition utilized. Is it 25% or, maybe, 30%?

  2. jack Brown from BDAI, August 13, 2015 at 6:57 p.m.

    Viewability depends on who is managing the campaign. If it's the same old companies that seemingly put fulfilling the minimum requirement to get paid as their first priority then your numbers are a bit high. However if it's a company that consistently delivers viewabilty scores between 65% and 90% then your numbers are low relative to our standard performance. When we detect fraud (we have are ways)we don't report those views and our customers don't pay for those Ads. The viewability measurement standards we employ for a campaign are not restricted to the MRC standard they can be defined by our customer. It's all about working with the customer to make the Campaign as successful as possible,not just getting paid for meeting the minimum requirement.

  3. Mani Gandham from Instinctive, August 14, 2015 at 1:35 p.m.

    Unfortunately "accredited" vendors can have discrepancies over 50% between each other, so until we have a viewability standard that also describes the measurement process and a better, more technical, auditing process - these numbers are meaningless. 

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