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Excessive Programmatic Buying Can Reduce Viewability

In the ever-evolving world of technology, plenty of companies are looking to take advantage of the latest advancements in order to get ahead of their competition. Programmatic buying is a common technique employed online, allowing the increasingly complex process of digital marketing to become completely automated and making things much simpler for all parties concerned in the advertising process. However, using programmatic buying in excess can actually reduce the viewability of individual advertisements. This is according to results obtained from three different European countries.

The three countries involved in the discovery of this phenomenon were France, Germany and the United Kingdom. In the UK, a higher percentage of ads are purchased via programmatic methods than in Germany or France. In fact, 45% of ads were bought this way in 2014 in the UK, but only 49% of all ads were actually viewable in the second quarter of 2015, according to technical solutions company Meetrics. Meanwhile, over in Germany and France, 64% and 62% of ads were viewable. Companies throughout the latter two countries do not use programmatic buying as commonly as in the UK, and so the obvious conclusion to draw is that increased levels of programmatic buying can lead to reduced viewability rates.

It’s worth noting that an ad qualifies as viewable if 50% or more of its pixels are visible on a user’s screen for one second or longer. Therefore, with 51% of ads in the UK not qualifying as viewable, these findings represent a big issue for marketers and programmatic media providers. These techniques were created in order to improve the efficiency levels of marketing, but it seems as though the algorithms and systems in place are flawed, leading to huge wastes of time and money. In fact, over $750 million was wasted in 2014 on ads that were not viewable in the UK alone, at least according to Anant Joshi, Direct of International Business at Meetrics.

Joshi questioned the viability of systems that are compromising viewability in such a serious way. He claims that programmatic media is designed to offer a better value alternative to traditional methods of advertising, hence the rapid growth of this relatively new industry. Indeed, these figures are apparently not a major concern for companies in the UK as experts at the Interactive Advertising Bureau estimate that over 70% of UK ads will be purchased via programmatic means in the year 2018.

Evidently, improvements are needed in programmatic media systems. Google research has even managed to identify the top culprits of ads that regularly do not qualify as viewable, with large “leaderboard” images covering each end of a webpage being among the main offenders. More research obviously needs to be done in this field in order to provide accurate results for companies to analyze before investing in programmatic buying. This technology offers plenty of benefits and helps to streamline the marketing process, but just like with any other technology, optimization is needed.

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