LONDON: The level of online ad viewability in the UK rose above 50% in the third quarter, but continued to lag far behind the levels recorded in France and Germany according to a new report.

European ad verification company Meetrics calculated that 52% of online ads served in the UK in Q2 met the IAB and Media Ratings Council's recommendation that an ad is considered viewable if 50% of it can be seen for at least one second.

That figure represented a small increase from Q2 when just 49% were deemed viewable. And while advertisers will welcome the improvement, they may be wondering why the UK figures are so far behind those for major continental markets.

In Germany online ad viewability levels stand at 61%, although this was down from 61% in the earlier quarter; France, in contrast, saw viewability levels rise sharply, from 62% to 69%.

"The main reason ads aren't viewable is they take too long to load – about 20% of ads served don't load before a viewer has moved elsewhere," explained Anant Joshi, Meetrics' Director of International Business.

"Consequently, the industry has much to do in terms of increasing web-page performance and ad serving systems, notably, to drastically reduce the amount of web browser redirects that go on behind the scenes before content is loaded," he added.

Apart from these technical issues, there are also very real issues around measurement standards themselves to address. A recent study, carried out by FaR Partners for InSkin Media, found that 50% of senior agency and publisher executives did not believe the standards set by the IAB and Media Rating Council (MCR) were adequate.

And inconsistency of measurement across vendors emerged as a key issue as regards future digital marketing operations.

As well as a rise in overall viewability levels, the Meetrics study also noted that the average time viewable ads (those meeting the 50%/one second rule) were in view rose from 29.5 seconds in Q2 to 31.2 seconds in Q3.

Data sourced from Meetrics, Campaign; additional content by Warc staff