Over half of online display ads served in the UK in Q3 didn’t meet current viewability standards, amounting to an estimated £154 million in “wasted” ad spend.

That’s according to media verification company Meetrics, which found just 49% of ads served during the third quarter meeting the IAB and MRC’s recommendation that 50% of an ad must be in view for at least a second. It does however represent a 2% hike on the total in Q2 of 2016.

Despite the marginal improvement, the UK remains significantly on the backfoot against European counterparts when it comes to ads being seen. In Austria, the ratio of viewed ads sits at over two thirds (69%), while France (60%) and Germany (59%) at least steal a majority gaze.

“To be honest, due to the attention and initiatives focused on addressing viewability, we’d expected a bigger improvement in the UK in the third quarter,” commented Meetrics’ director of international business, Anant Joshi.

Despite viewability representing a huge talking point within display, Joshi notes that recent awareness efforts seem to “only just outweigh” the impact of programmatic ad delivery and ad re-loading by publishers made in an attempt to boost inventory levels.

“It’s still translating into about £615 million wasted annually on non-viewable banner ads alone,” he added. 

For video ads, an area which has seen increased investment this year, viewability rates are at a much more positive 68%, but it’s important to note that this is pitched against a measure of 50% in view for at least two seconds. 

Joshi believes this might not be enough to create any kind of impact: “If one considers a view-time of 10 seconds, which will have an impact, video viewability drops to 30%.”  

While display ads across the board are falling low of the mark, the stats are far from consistent across formats. Leaderboard and MPU formats measure at just 40% and 48% viewability respectively. Halfpage ads, on the other hand, claim a 64% viewability rate.