High Proportion of Display Ads Not In-View to Intended User

adsafe-visibilityofdisplayads-feb-2012.jpgMore than 38% of display ads in December 2011 were either not in-view at all to their intended user or in-view for less than half a second, the standard time accepted for an ad view, according to a February 2012 report from AdSafe. Publishers performed best, with only 24.9% of ads not in-view for at least half a second, followed by networks (42.4%) and platforms/exchanges (46.4%). Of the ads not in-view for at least half a second, the vast majority (~97%) were never in-view.

This result mirrors January highlights from a comScore study involving 12 national premium brands, which found that in many cases online ads are delivered but not in-view or on target, and therefore never have a chance to make an impact. In fact, across all charter campaigns measured, 69% of the ad impressions were classified as being in-view, while the remaining 31% were delivered but never seen by a consumer, a likely result of a consumer scrolling past the ad before it loaded or a consumer never scrolling the ad into view.

Religious Site Ads Get Most Visibility

Data from AdSafe’s “2011 Semiannual Review” indicates that religion and spirituality sites led all verticals in terms of ad visibility, with an in-view time of 5 seconds. Content sites as a whole performed well, at roughly 2 seconds, with sports the clear leader ahead of news sites. Utility sites had an in-view average of just 0.56 seconds, with real estate and travel sites the only types of utility sites with ads in view for longer than half a second.

Risky Content Up 25% for Publishers

For publishers, the overall proportion of risky content (impressions that represent a low degree of brand safety) increased 25% quarter-over-quarter in Q4 to represent 7.5% of all impressions, with the majority of those deemed moderate risk (4.8% of total impressions). By contrast, the proportion of risky content decreased 14% for platforms/exchanges, from 9.8% to 8.4%, while it fell a more substantial 41% for networks, from 10.3% to 6.1%.

Even so, the proportion of impressions deemed very high risk was much higher for platforms/exchanges (4.7%) and networks (2.6%) than it was for publishers (1.6%).

According to the comScore study (see link above), 72% of the national premium brand campaigns had at least some ads running next to content deemed “not brand safe” by the advertiser, meaning that the content was deemed objectionable by the brand.

Language the Main Offender

Overall, offensive language was the most prevalent category of high risk inventory in Q4, making up 40% of publishers’ high risk impressions, up from 31% in Q3. It was also most prevalent for platforms/exchanges (27%) and networks (27%), though its share of high risk inventory fell from Q3 for both.

Both alcohol and drug impressions fell across the board in Q4, though combined they represented 53% of high risk inventory for networks. Hate speech impressions shot up from 1% to 7% of high-risk inventory for publishers, on par with the share of this inventory accounted for by illegal downloads.

Other Findings:

  • The UK received the largest amount of the US’ non-geo-targeted content, at 22.8% in Q4. Canada (17.2%) received the next-largest proportion of these impressions, followed by China (11.1%). Results from comScore’s study indicate that of the campaigns it tracked, an average of 4% of the ad impressions were delivered outside the desired geography, but that individual campaigns ran as high as 15%.
  • Laptops and desktops accounted for 97.6% of ad traffic in Q4, while tablets accounted for 1.4% and mobile approximately 1%.

About the Data: To obtain its results, AdSafe analyzed over 1 billion impressions per day that came through its systems.