Ad viewability in the first quarter of the year hit 54% in the UK, the highest rate in 18 months.

That’s according to a report from ad verification company Meetrics, which found that ad viewability across the UK in Q1 rose by 4% from the previous quarter, the highest rate since Q3 in 2014, when levels stood at 55%.

Despite the increase, however, the UK still has “a long way to go” in order to catch up with its European neighbours.

European viewability

Last year viewability saw a decline across the continent, with Q4 2015 figures showing an average loss of 5% compared to the previous quarter.

Germany was one of the worst hit, with numbers there plunging from 61% to 58%. France saw a decrease of 4%, while the rates in Austria fell by 5%, leaving both countries at 65%. The drop in the UK was less dramatic – a mere 2% – placing viewability rate at 50%.

With viewability on the rise again since Q1 this year, the new direction is good news for Britain, although the numbers are still lower than those of its European counterparts; as it stands, the rate in France has reached 66%, Austria stands at 65% and Germany follows with 60%.

A long way to go

The unsteady rates suggest that display advertising is work in progress and, particularly in the UK, it might need more attention than in the rest of Europe.

Anant Joshi, Meetrics’ director of international business, pointed out that there were good reasons for the improvement in numbers.

“As the whole ‘ad verification’ topic gets more publicity, it gains prominence in marketing departments, consequently, more campaigns are being optimised against viewability figures.

“Furthermore, the issue of low-viewable inventory in programmatic – which now accounts for 60% of display ad sales – is being addressed.”

Despite the growth, however, Joshi highlighted that there was still a long way to go to resolve the issue.