Media Environments Continue to Improve Despite Global Pandemic, IAS Report Finds 1

Integral Ad Science (IAS), the global leader in digital ad verification, released its Media Quality Report (MQR), which found there has been an improvement in most major digital media quality indicators like brand safety, viewability, and fraud.

In the first half of 2020, consumers worldwide spent notably more time with various media as they observed the stay-at-home guidance of their respective geographies. According to eMarketer, consumers are now spending an extra hour per day on digital media alone compared to 2019. Accompanying this shift in time spent with digital media, IAS data indicates that content has become safer for advertisers, with brand risk dropping across all environments and formats from 2019 to H1 2020. Additionally, viewability averages rose over the same period and global ad fraud rates remained low for marketers with active fraud mitigation technology.

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“The MQR report shows increases in the overall quality of digital impressions across a number of key metrics, from brand risk to viewability,” said Tony Marlow, Chief Marketing Officer, IAS. “This accompanies a trend right now for marketers to be hyper-focused on the quality of their paid media investments in order to better connect with their audiences and drive campaign outcomes.”

In a year of transformative global events and increased digital content consumption, global average brand risk continued to drop across all environments and formats compared to 2019.  Brand risk is defined as those web pages which are scored as ‘medium’ or ‘high’ risk for brands. This indicates that marketers are increasingly recognizing that not all contexts are equal for driving marketing success and that they are controlling their contextual adjacencies in ways designed to maximize performance.

Global viewability averages, which measure whether at least 50% of a given ad’s pixels are on screen per MRC standards, rose above 70% across nearly all formats and environments. This growth was driven by media quality improvements made in programmatic inventory, especially mobile app display and mobile web display.

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While overall fraud levels remained low, campaigns that didn’t use fraud mitigation tools or strategies encountered levels of fraud up to 25x higher than those with active fraud protections. Global fraud rates among non-optimized campaigns ranged between 6.9% and 13.2%, depending on format and environment. Comparatively, mobile web video remained the safest inventory when optimized against ad fraud, averaging a 0.3% worldwide, while desktop display registered the highest optimized-against-ad-fraud rate at 0.8% in H1 2020.

Integral Ad Science’s H1 2020 Media Quality Report highlights brand safety, ad fraud, and viewability trends across display and video advertising formats, as well as desktop, mobile web, and in-app environments. The Media Quality Report analyzed data from billions of global impressions from advertising campaigns that ran between January 1st and June 30th, 2020. The H1 2020 report provides the largest country expansion to date, with five new markets: India, Indonesia, Mexico, Singapore, and Sweden.

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