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A new report — “UK Measurement and Viewability: Tracking the Served Ad Journey”  — confirms what many know: internet-based ad efforts are increasingly under the microscope.

Three measurement considerations have become particularly top of mind for marketers assessing the quality of digital advertising: ad fraud, brand safety, and viewability.

“The good news is that the UK seems to be doing better than average when some of those scores are tallied, though recent high-profile news stories show there’s still more to be done,” notes the report.

Though the Association of National Advertisers claims more than $7 billion is lost to ad fraud annually, an October, 2016 survey of UK advertising and marketing professionals by the Global Alliance of Data-Driven Marketing Associations (GDMA) and Winterberry Group found that less than 10 percent of respondents considered ad fraud caused by bots (or nonhuman traffic) to be a challenge.

In fact, ad fraud is lower on the list than marketers’ current concerns: brand safety and viewability.

Brand safety has been the big story, especially following YouTube’s decision to tighten ad placements — particularly on channels thought to be extremist or inappropriate for the brand.

Again, there may be more smoke than fire here.

“Pre-revelation polling in the UK found brand safety ranked low on the list of concerns of UK digital video advertisers surveyed by Collective last autumn, with only 3.9 percent of respondents calling it their biggest barrier to greater digital video investment,” according to eMarketer.

Probably the most legitimate concern? Viewability.

“Viewability is UK marketers’ third key concern, and apparently a more justified one,” according to the report. “Studies have shown it’s an area where the UK lags its peers. A Meetrics analysis, for one, found the UK had the lowest ad viewability rate (49 percent) of four countries studied in Q4 2016, compared with a 63 percent average among Austria, France, and Germany.”

While programmatic advertising could be a factor, UK internet users’ skill at avoiding digital ads could be another cause of low viewability.

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