Global leader in digital ad verification, Integral Ad Science (IAS), today released its latest Media Quality Report (MQR) for H2 2019. The MQR provides insight into the performance and quality of digital media in Australia with global comparisons on viewability, brand suitability, and ad fraud.
Australia was one of the strongest performing countries for advertising media quality across all of the key benchmarks. This performance is likely a testament to the sophisticated local ecosystem of advertisers, publishers, and industry bodies for championing initiatives such as ads.txt and the IAS-built Open Measurement SDK (OM SDK). Advertisers have prioritised clean impressions, and publishers in Australia are delivering relevant, engaging content and online experiences to garner longer ad exposure times, a great proxy for attention and engagement.
Australia vs. New Zealand: Australia overtakes New Zealand for brand safety in both the desktop and mobile arenas
In a Trans-Tasman comparison of media quality, Australian brand risk metrics saw notable improvements compared to the previous wave while New Zealand’s brand risk scores slid backward over the same period. Of particular note, Australia’s brand risk for desktop display improved from 4.6% ‘unsafe’ content in H2 2018 to 1.9% in H2 2019. Australia’s brand risk on mobile web video was also significantly reduced from 8.7% in H2 2018 to 4.2% in H2 2019 (the worldwide average came in at 7.7%). Australia saw decreases in brand risk across environments and formats, primarily driven by a reduction in programmatic brand risk compared to H1 2019.
By contrast, New Zealand observed an increase in brand risk in the desktop display from 4.4% (H2 2018) to 5.1% (H2 2019). Brand risks for New Zealand also increased in mobile web display, which rose from 5.2% (H2 2018) to 6.7% (H2 2019).
Australia shows strong viewability and engagement across all channels, led by mobile
Australia’s viewability rates rose across all formats and environments in comparison to the previous year: desktop display stood at 71.7% and desktop video at 75.5%, compared to the worldwide averages of 71% and 74.1% respectively. For Australia, mobile continued to show positive performance for viewability: mobile web video inventory hit 70.9% in H2 2019, a huge improvement from 63.9% in H2 2018. Mobile app display reported 69.9% viewability, beating the worldwide viewability rate of 68.7%. One key driver for increased global viewability metrics was programmatic inventory, which saw greater margins of increase than publisher-direct inventory, both globally and within individual markets.
Mobile in-app display time-in-view averaged more than 24 seconds worldwide, greater than that of desktop display (22.8s) and mobile web display (15.5s), and surpassing the 23-second desktop display average of H1 2019.
Australia’s time-in-view benchmark across all channels was higher than the worldwide averages: the country's mobile web display of 17.99s was the highest globally, with the average worldwide at 15.51s; furthermore, mobile in-app display stood at 26.50s compared to the worldwide average of 24.47s. For mobile environments, Australia consistently ranked among the top three markets for average time-in-view metrics.
James Diamond, MD ANZ at Integral Ad Science, comments: “Advertisers are making mobile viewability a priority in light of a consumer behaviour shift towards increased mobile use. The report shows a significant increase in viewability benchmarks across all environments, year-on-year. It is particularly positive to see inventory exceeding 70% viewability in desktop display and video, with mobile web and app approaching this target at speed. To access consumers in the right place, at the right time, with the right message, an additional focus is needed to ensure brand suitability strategies and proactive ad fraud protection are implemented across the mobile environment”.
Ad fraud in Australia marginally above the global average
Global fraud rates on campaigns optimised against ad fraud remained stable, changing by no more than two-tenths of a percentage point year-over-year in H2 2019. Desktop video ad fraud in Australia (0.8%) was second highest globally after the US (1.4%), while the worldwide optimised was at 0.9% and not optimised stayed at 9.6%.
Australia's desktop display fraud rates decreased to 1.1% in H2 2019, marginally lower than 1.3% in H2 2018. The worldwide non-optimised average stood at 11.9% in H2 2019. Mobile web display reported 0.7% ad fraud in Australia, putting the country on par with the worldwide average optimised fraud (0.7%), while the non-optimised global fraud rate remained at 12.7%. In New Zealand, mobile web display optimised ad fraud doubled from 0.3% (H2 2018) to 0.6% (H2 2019), but still remained below the worldwide optimised ad fraud rate of 0.7%.
Campaigns for which ad fraud mitigation tools are not used encountered greater levels of fraud by a factor of 10 times and higher, depending on the device and format.
“The overall year-on-year reduction in brand risk across channels is a direct result of industry-wide collaborative efforts as well as the adoption of IAS technologies,” says Diamond. “However, the industry can’t become complacent – brand suitability is always evolving for marketers, and this requires constant vigilance to deliver precision for individual suitability thresholds.”
In addition to brand risk, findings from the IAS Media Quality Report suggest advertisers are more conscious than ever of ad fraud risks, across all platforms. “Marketers are using our machine-learning-driven anti-fraud technology to mitigate risk from fraudsters. We stop bots so brands don’t waste ad dollars.”