‘So much online video is rubbish’: European brand marketers sound off on brand safety and video inventory
Brand marketers are unsure how much to invest in new, exciting channels like connected TV and in-app video, given fraudsters are beginning to focus there. This was just one of the challenges discussed by brand marketers during closed-door sessions this week at Digiday’s Brand Summit Europe in Wicklow, Ireland. Other issues debated included how to locate enough quality online video to invest in, what’s needed to feel reassured about brand safety, and how to best tap into the direct-to-consumer market.
Here’s a sample of what was said:
Lack of video inventory supply
“Video is such a loose term. So much of the online video, outside of broadcasters’ video-on-demand, is rubbish. There are still so many sites where the video just plays in the corner of the screen, or is autoplay and it’s a bad user experience. Finding good video which is click-to-play, sound on once you start it, so not crappy autoplay, is so scarce.”
“So much money is going into video, but once you start assessing the quality of it, you realize that it isn’t a good experience. Broadcaster VOD is good quality — there are often too many ads ahead of the content — but there isn’t enough of it.”
“Video never comes up in attribution for us, which we find a real challenge.”
“Part of the problem with there not being enough good quality video is the fact publishers aren’t paid enough to create good quality video. Marketers aren’t willing to pay them, but this stuff costs money. Important to admit that.”
Ad fraud frustration
“When it comes to connected TV, every day there are articles in the trade press talking about the quality of the inventory on CTV, and how good the targeting capabilities are there. But because the CPMs are so high there, fraudulent activity is following it. So it feels like there are cool, interesting new places to be but there is also a lot of threat. Same issue with in-app video.”
“It’s [ad fraud] like trying to grab water. As you tighten your grip on it the issues move around the ad ecosystem. It started in display, then moved into video and now mobile in-app inventory. They’re [fraudsters] following the money. It’s so tough to police. It’s becoming a case of technology waging war on technology to close those loopholes.”
“Facebook has said that one second on video can have an impact. Fine. But that’s hardly something to aspire to.”
“The only way platforms like Google and Facebook would show more willing to take charge of issues like brand safety is if marketers pull money from them significantly.”
“It’s well known how many fraudulent apps there are in the Google store but they [Google] don’t seem to do much to acknowledge that, or work to proactively tackle that, which is disappointing. We’re almost reliant on the walled gardens to take a lead on these issues but they just take so so long.”
“Even if you were brave and decided not to put budget into YouTube you would struggle to get the level of inventory anywhere else. It boils down to that. They have the majority inventory.”
“We use viewability for hygiene. But we found it interesting that when we looked at all the channels, Facebook is relatively new in terms of tracking viewability, so it’s a lot lower but we use it to inform our content strategy so like digital out-of-home. But we don’t make videos for that platform anymore as people just don’t watch them.”
Figuring out DTC opportunity
“DTC is a very sexy word that means different things depending on who you speak to. Everyone wants to do it, but they need to think about the consumer proposition — it’s not a matter of having what you already sell in-store.”
“Bridging the gap between e-commerce and marketing teams is a big task. FMCG companies have traditionally worked with supermarkets so there isn’t a lot of inherent experience with DTC. A lot of discussions are around getting consumers to buy online but it can also be about physical shops too. DTC doesn’t have to mean only e-commerce, there are broader opportunities — it can be a combination of having stores or working with third-party partners like Amazon or eBay.”
“We find it really hard working with Amazon. It’s almost like you have to thank them for having your products on their platform. So how can we get to that point where we can have a more balanced partnership with them?”
“Amazon is one of those corporations that can be a partner or an enemy. But you have to find some way to factor them into your plan.”
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