Research Briefing: Frequency capping matters most on streaming platforms

This research is based on unique data collected from our proprietary audience of publisher, agency, brand and tech insiders. It’s available to Digiday+ members. More from the series →

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In this edition of the Digiday+ Research Briefing, we examine the top ad attributes marketers want from ad-supported streaming platforms, how brands are increasing their marketing spend on YouTube, and how Walmart and Roblox are teaming up to make virtual e-commerce a reality, as seen in recent data from Digiday+ Research.

45% of marketers want streaming platforms to offer frequency capping

Frequency capping is the top ad option that advertisers want ad-supported streaming platforms to offer. That is according to Digiday+ Research’s newly released report on ad-supported streaming services from our CMO Strategies series. Almost half of survey respondents (45%) selected frequency capping as the most important ad attribute for platforms to offer in 2024. Frequency capping also tied with short ad-break length as the top ad option marketers desired in 2023.

When it comes to frequency capping, the issue advertisers generally run into is that individual viewers are exposed to the same ad too many times in a given week. Advertisers typically try to limit the number of times a video ad is shown to the same person to two to three exposures per week. However, sometimes viewers are served the ad more than three times that threshold, creating a negative brand experience for consumers.

The other side of the frequency capping coin is that sometimes advertisers struggle to reach viewers a sufficient number of times. “Advertisers who are interested in generating a lot of impressions because they’re interested in reach may want a slightly more open frequency cap,” said Harry Browne, vp of media innovation at performance marketing agency Tinuiti. “But, in general, frequency capping and shorter ad breaks are helpful in terms of maintaining a quality viewer experience and maintaining the efficacy of that impression.”

Insights and stats:

  • After frequency capping, brands and agencies said non-skippable ads were the next-most important ad options for platforms to offer. Forty-one percent of respondents selected this ad attribute.
  • Short ad-break length (one minute or less) came in third place among the ad options marketers seek from ad-supported streaming platforms, with 39% of respondents selecting this ad attribute.
  • “In particular, frequency capping and short ad-break length are important to the quality of the viewers’ experience and, in turn, the advertisers’. The balance of maintaining attention without overwhelming the recipient is crucial. We aim to avoid inundating them with repetitive messages.” — Victoria Vaynberg, CMO at Zola

Read more about top ad attributes on streaming platforms

Digiday+ Research digest

Brands are increasing their marketing spend on YouTube, and more brands use the platform than agencies. That is according to Digiday+ Research surveys conducted among brand, retailer and agency professionals every six months. Two-thirds of brand and retailer pros (67%) said their companies used YouTube as of Q1 2024, while 59% of agency pros said their clients were using YouTube as of Q1. The difference in YouTube usage could be due to the fact that both groups look to get different things out of the platform.

The stats:

  • The highest percentage of brand pros (38%) said their main measurement of success on YouTube is impressions, while the highest percentage of agency pros (32%) said their clients’ main measurement of success on the platform is engagement.
  • Brands’ and agencies’ spending on YouTube differs too. Eighty-five percent of brand and retailer pros said in Q1 2024 that they spend at least a very small portion of their marketing budgets on YouTube, up from 75% in Q3 2023. Meanwhile, 68% of agency pros said in Q1 2024 that their clients spend at least a very small portion of their marketing budgets on YouTube, down from 73% in Q3 2023.
  • The highest percentage of brand and retailer pros (24%) said cost of media is their biggest challenge on YouTube, while the highest percentage of agency pros (24%) said lack of budget is their biggest challenge on the platform.

Read more about marketers’ YouTube use

Walmart is expanding its e-commerce presence by participating in a pilot test to sell physical goods directly to users inside Roblox. Walmart’s Roblox e-commerce experience launched on Monday, with users inside the pre-existing Walmart Discovered experience able to have real-life items shipped directly to their doorsteps. Walmart has also been growing its retail media network Walmart Connect, according to Digiday+ Research’s CMO Strategies series. 

Insights and stats:

  • Walmart Connect was marketers’ second most-used retail media network in 2023, after Amazon Ads. Twenty-four percent of marketers said at the time of Digiday+ Research’s surveys that their company used Walmart Connect.
  • Overall, retail media was marketers’ third most-used advertising channel. More than one-third of marketers (38%) said they use retail media advertising, putting it behind display ads (used by 61% of respondents) and social media (used by 97% of respondents) as a top marketing channel.
  • “The impact of what we see at Walmart is strong results. Whether it’s in store on the video screens, within social, within their search, we’re seeing Walmart being a strong contender in this [retail media] space.” — Cheryl Gresham, CMO at Verizon Value

Read more about the top retail media networks

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