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New Meetrics report blames programmatic buying for disappearing online ads

Does the Gadarene rush to programmatic online media buying mean that nobody actually sees the ads?

New research from ad verification company Meetrics suggests so, claiming that just 49 per cent of UK ads met the IAB and Media Ratings Council’s recommendation that an ad is considered viewable if 50 per cent of it is in view for at least one second. In Q2 2014, the viewability figure was 56 per cent. The current figures for Germany and France are 64 per cent and 62 per cent respectively.

In the light of which it’s even more bizarre that a recent IAB study showed that 45 per cent of UK display ads were bought programmatically in 2014, up from 28 per cent in 2013 and predicted this will rise to 70-80 per cent by 2018. The logical consequence being that in a few years nobody will see any online ads at all.

anantMeetrics director of international business Anant Joshi (left) says: “There’s no doubt programmatic brings many benefits to advertisers but there’s a flip side to every coin. It’s certainly less transparent than buying directly and there’s also a big question mark about the quality of much of the inventory sold this way and, clearly, that most of it never ends up being seen.”

“Cross-referencing our data with the IAB’s digital ad spend report² suggests around £485 million last year was spent on display ads that weren’t seen. So, it’s vital that agencies, on behalf of their advertiser clients, demand more accountability from the vendors and middle men used to buy their media. One way is to ensure any vendors are rubber-stamped by JICWEBS that they meet industry-agreed standards for online ad trading.”

The report also showed that ‘Leaderboards’ were the least viewable (40 per cent) ad format whilst ‘Billboards’ (68 per cent) and ‘Skyscrapers’ (60 per cent) were the most viewable. Furthermore, for ads that met the 50 per cent/one second viewability rule, the average time these ads were in view was 29.5 seconds.

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