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UK Programmatic Ads Outperform Direct Buys for the First Time

UK Programmatic Ads Outperform Direct Buys for the First Time


New report finds programmatic ads have outperformed direct buys for the first time thanks to an industry-wide effort to clean up the digital ad space.

Programmatic viewability rates have outperformed publisher direct buys across desktop and mobile web display for the first time in the second half of 2018. The findings were revealed in Integral Ad Science (IAS) UK Media Quality Report for H2 2018.

Programmatic UK desktop display ads meeting the minimum viewability standard rose by 8.2% from 63.4% to 69.1% in the second half of 2018. In comparison, publisher direct ads rose from 65.1% to 67.7%. Meanwhile, 62.4% of programmatic mobile web display impressions met minimum viewability standards, having increased 16.6% year-on-year from H2 2017 to H2 2018, reflecting the industry’s demand for higher standards in the programmatic inventory from the buyer side.  

Advertisers looking to capture consumers attention can look to time-based measurement, as video campaign impressions provide the best opportunity, surpassing both display and mobile web for the total length of time an ad was in view.

“Findings demonstrate the major shift towards programmatic trading, with the term ‘programmatic’ no longer associated with lower quality inventory. This is likely due in part to an increase in publishers utilising programmatic to sell valuable inventory, via private marketplaces” commented Nick Morley, EMEA MD at Integral Ad Science.

The report also found that brand risk continued to decrease, with the amount of desktop display ads served in inappropriate environments falling by 28.9% from 4.5% to 3.2% in HQ 2018. When looking at the bigger picture, brand risk has fallen by just over half in the past two years.

All this is thanks to an industry-wide focus on cleaning up the digital ad space, with clear progress having been made as a result.   

IAS’s report highlights brands safety, ad fraud, viewability and time-in-view trends for programmatic and publisher direct advertising across display, video, mobile web, and in-app advertising. IAS analysed data from billions of UK impressions from ad campaigns that ran between July 1 and December 31.

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Joele Forrester

Joele Forrester

Joele is a journalist at PerformanceIN reporting news from the world of performance marketing, while also reporting live at events, writing feature articles and interviewing key industry players.

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