Ad viewability rates in the UK have hit their highest level since the second quarter of 2014, according to the latest report by ad verification company Meetrics.

The percentage of banner ads served within the period that met minimum viewability guidelines rose from 52% to 56% – the first time levels have risen for three consecutive quarters.

“Despite previous, albeit small, jumps, we’ve been cautious about being too positive but yet another rise, the joint biggest we’ve seen in consecutive quarters, suggests the battle is being won,” said Philipp von Hilgers, Meetrics’ CEO and co-founder.

“The jump is particularly impressive as in most markets viewability drops in the final quarter due to higher activity – driven by Christmas – which leads to lower quality placements resulting in lower viewability, so the UK has done very well to override this trend.”

According to Meetrics, the improvements are a result of agencies and advertisers becoming more focused on investing in better quality placements, while publishers are realising the value of providing higher quality inventory.

Traditionally lagging behind counterparts in Europe, the results put the UK in a much more positive standing: it has overtaken both Switzerland (48%), Poland (50%) and Germany (55%).

Viewability leaders, meanwhile, comprise of Austria (67%) which leads the way followed by Italy (63%), France (62%) and Sweden (61%).

Ads are deemed viewable if they meet the IAB and Media Ratings Council’s recommendation that 50% of the ad is in view for at least one second. The average time a UK ad was in view (but not necessarily viewed) rose by 15% to 24.3 seconds.