Twice a week this month, Digiday will examine ways of “Improving Web Video.” We’ll cover both challenges and opportunities in online video and highlight brands and publishers getting it right. The series is made possible through the sponsorship of Vizu.
The Web video market is large and growing fast. It is one of the few areas on the Internet that mostly has reversed the supply-demand imbalance that’s the hallmark of display advertising. In fact, online video publishers boast sell-through rates of 70 percent versus around 30 percent for display.
That’s given sellers of online video an upper hand, as demand for high-quality video placements outstrips supply. It’s also created a market where there’s pressure to fulfill campaigns in any way possible, leading to some of the bad practices Digiday has explored in the past. Here are the five questions brands should ask when buying online video.
1. Where will the video appear?
It’s telling that the top question has to be this. Many sites and networks will promise one thing and deliver another, warns Darren Herman, chief digital media officer at The Media Kitchen. Buyers can expect to appear on one set of sites and find their ads on another. “There have been times when vendors will come in with a big list of properties, and they procure the media after the insertion order comes through, which is sketchy and not something we like,” he said.
2. Is this really pre-roll?
Whether it should or shouldn’t be, in-stream advertising is more highly valued by advertisers compared to in-banner. But for sellers in-banner is far more plentiful, considering all that empty display space on the Web. Despite protests from networks that it could never, ever happen with their networks, buyers still find instances where video that was supposed to be in-stream is served in-banner.
3. Is the video user-initiated?
Many publishers like to goose the numbers on ad plays with auto-initiated video. Some turn the sound off and place the player below the fold, where it’s never seen or even heard. Joanna O’Connell, an analyst at Forrester, said buyers have to ask this obvious question. “There’s a lot of stuff out there that’s not [user-initated],” she said, “and there’s a lot of stuff out there that’s fraudulent.”
4. Is the video trackable?
Yes, this sounds like yet another basic question. In fact, there are still many instances where buyers are unable to serve or track the video themselves. This is doubly important in online video, where there are so many ways for video to be delivered — in-player, in-banner, auto-played, user-initiated, etc. The verification industry is making strides in video, but it’s still often difficult to make sure you’ve gotten what you paid for, according to Alan Schanzer, chief client officer at Undertone.
5. What targeting technology is being used?
The dirty truth of online video is that it isn’t all that targeted. To be sure, many sellers tout super algorithms that will line up ads perfectly with content. Don’t believe the hype. Many are smoke and mirrors. Display ad targeting techniques, such as behavioral and contextual, aren’t in widespread use in video. That’s because sophisticated targeting in display is predicated on a vast pool of inventory that can be matched to cookies. Video, on an impression level, has less than 3 percent of the volume as display.
CMO Strategies: How marketers’ social platform budgets stack up — from Instagram to TikTok
Digiday+ Research has analyzed strategies and challenges across leading marketing channels to identify key trends and best practices in our CMO Strategies series. First up: social media usage and budgets.
Culture Brands’ Eunique Jones Gibson wants to help brands uplift, empower stories for African Americans
When Eunique Jones Gibson, founder of the Black-owned marketing agency Culture Brands, launched her agency in 2017, the 39-year-old business leader wanted to demonstrate that she could ignite conversation, introspection and social change in the industry.
Danone’s Light + Fit brand invests in digital video ad spend, but won’t let go of linear TV
Danone-owned yogurt brand Light + Fit is doubling down on its streaming ad strategy, including investing in Netflix for the first time.
SponsoredWhat the measurement and currency discussion really means to TV advertisers
Ali Mack, head of TV and agency, Experian Major streaming video providers have recently made headlines by adopting new currencies for ad measurement, threatening Nielsen’s long-standing TV ratings monopoly. NBCUniversal, for example, has certified iSpot and VideoAmp as currencies for advanced audiences and formed the Joint Industry Committee with Paramount, TelevisaUnivision and Warner Bros. Discovery. […]
The ANA parts ways with PwC in its ongoing ad tech transparency project
Sources claim the trade organization ended the relationship amid frustration with developments.
Marketing Briefing: Why marketers are seeking deeper partnerships with artists to remix songs, offer experiences
By working with musicians and celebrities, brands can potentially generate more attention and become a part of culture, according to agency execs, who say that brands are looking for anything that can help them connect to culture more deeply.