For the second consecutive quarter, less than half of online ads served in the UK have met minimum viewability thresholds, costing advertisers a massive £154 million.

Only 49% of UK Ad’s met the IAB and Media Council’s recommendation that 50% of the ad was in view for at least one second (and this is a pretty low threshold!). This is a slight improvement from 47% in the second quarter of 2016, but advertisers expected a bigger improvement for the third quarter of this year, due to the attention and initiatives focused on improving viewability.

Although the numbers are frightening, it should be remembered that advert visibility is not a problem that is unique to digital advertising. Not all adverts in print publications will be seen by readers: in fact I remember some research a few years ago that suggested one publication was only taken out of its wrapper by about one in six readers!

However, even with the slight improvement, the UK remains significantly and worryingly behind other European countries in terms of viewability levels, with Austria at 69%, France at 60% and Germany at 59%.

Position is of the upmost importance when considering viewability, with £615 million being wasted annually on non-viewable banner ads alone. This can be due to the impact and growth of programmatic advertising, which can give you less control over position and therefore, viewability, suggesting one reason of why there was only a small improvement of viewability this quarter.

It’s hard to know what the impact of viewability issues have in the B2B tech sector, but it seems reasonable assume that the problem is similar to that seen in the consumer sector. Of course there is a simple solution: judge the campaigns by the results, not by the number of impressions. If you focus on outcomes or outtakes from the campaign, then you are measuring the impact of the campaign, which automatically takes the impact of unseen adverts into account, even when running programmatic campaigns where you have so little control over viewability.