Interactive Advertising Bureau
21 June 2016

Integral Ad Science report: Q1 2016 International Media Quality Report

Media quality across Europe is in its best shape yet!

The Integral Ad Science (IAS) Q1 2016 UK Media Quality Report highlights the current state of media quality in online advertising, analysing trends in viewability, online brand safety risk and rates of ad fraud. IAS processes hundreds of billions of impressions quarterly and is thus able to analyse the industry on a broad and representative level, across multiple media quality metrics.

The latest report from IAS highlights that media quality has improved significantly over the past year throughout Europe. The Q1 2016 report reflects the positive impact that the increase in efforts made by joint industry bodies to address media quality challenges head on, are having on the industry. When comparing the findings from our Q1 2015 report, with the latest Q1 2016 report, it is clear to see that media quality is moving in the right direction.

Rates of viewability have improved internationally, with France seeing the largest increase with a huge 13.1% point increase reported, from 47.8% in Q1 2015, rising to 60.9% in Q1 2016. The second largest increase was from Germany with an 11.4% point increase, from 42.3% in Q1 2015 to 53.7% in Q1 2016. The third biggest improvement in viewability in Europe was followed by the UK, which showed a 5.2% point increase, from 51.8% in Q1 2015 to 57% in Q1 2016. These results reinforce that the industry as a whole is making a determined effort to increase viewability and ensure that digital advertising is having the desired impact.

When comparing the IAS Media Quality Reports from Q1 2015 to Q1 2016, it is clear to see that the risk to brand’s advertising in inappropriate context has decreased overall in Europe. The percentage of ad impressions in Germany seen as posing a significant risk to a brand’s advertising saw a 7.5% point decrease from 17.4% to 9.9%, and the rate of brand risk in France had a 3.7% point decrease from 10.6% to 6.9%. The UK had the lowest findings of brand risk with a 4.1% point decrease from 11.1% in Q1 2015 to 7% reported in Q1 2016. Alongside the decrease in brand risk, ad fraud has also seen improvement internationally when comparing the latest report against the Q1 2015 results. The UK saw the biggest reduction in ad fraud, with a 7.9% point decrease from 12.9% to 5%. Germany also saw a significant reduction in ad fraud with a 5.3% point decrease from 11.2% to 5.9%. France similarly saw its rate of ad fraud fall by a 2.7% point decrease from 10.4% to 7.7%.

IAS has introduced a new metric to measure ad clutter. Ad Clutter, which is unique to IAS, provides insight into the share of the voice on the page and ultimately ad effectiveness, determining whether there are too many ads on the page. A high to very high clutter page is defined as a page where six or more ads were served. The effects of ad clutter are currently felt the least in France, with only 2% of ads found on a page with 6 or more ads on the page. Germany then follows with 2.4% ad clutter, and the UK is most impacted with 3.2% of advertising appearing on pages with over 6 ad slots.

2016 has started with some promising results that highlight the positive changes in media quality that are being made across the Continent. This positive impact is partly due to the industry’s increased efforts to educate and raise awareness around viewability, brand safety and ad fraud. Whilst our Media Quality Report may show increased improvements, it is imperative that the industry continues to tackle these media quality issues head on. For example, the IAB Europe Quality Task Force has been set up to look at the different components of quality, which combine to create the digital advertising ecosystem and some of the challenges that stakeholders are currently facing. The group is delivering several initiatives to drive brand advertising investment into digital, including standards, certification and research and education. Overall, media quality has improved across Europe and beyond – with viewability found at its highest rate and brand risk and ad fraud at their lowest.

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