What Brands Must Require from Video Distributors

Mitchell Reichgut is founder and CEO of Jun Group, an incentivized video ad platform. Follow him on Twitter @jungroup.

As branded video ads get longer and more entertaining, they’re also appearing in a variety of new channels. As these changes take place, advertisers are asking tougher questions about where branded videos appear and how views are generated.

Many video distributors rely on outsourced services, such as offer walls, to achieve their
reach. This can lead to inappropriate placements, inflated view totals and sketchy metrics. Offer walls make it particularly easy to artificially boost video view results by allowing users to earn points in exchange for completing tasks or making purchases. Typically, 20 to 100 offers will be stacked vertically across multiple pages. They are popular among direct response brands and subscription services (i.e. 1-800-Flowers.com, Discover, Netflix) that focus on acquiring new users as inexpensively as possible.

In this context, an offer wall can provide value for consumers and advertisers alike. The problem occurs when unscrupulous video companies abuse offer walls to generate misleading and disingenuous results. When an offer wall includes video advertisements, five or six postage stamp-sized videos can be stacked on top of one another. Users can simply click on all the video ads, scroll to the end and rack up a bunch of points without actually watching the videos.

Advertisers, of course, are unaware of this. To them, each click registers as a view. Post-
view activities, such as Web visits or sharing, are virtually nonexistent in this model.
Competitive separation is another problem. Arch-rival brands are frequently set on top of
one another within offer walls.

The video companies that perpetuate this type of program are usually the ones who claim to consistently generate large-scale viral sharing. No one can consistently generate viral hits, and when a video is not living up to expectations, offer walls are an easy out. They’re cheap, fast and low-profile.

Fortunately, advertisers that wish to avoid offer walls can easily do so. Brands and agencies should institute certain requirements — full upfront site lists, complete site-by-site reporting after the engagement, full disclosure of where all views are purchased, and written assurance that no offer walls will be included — for all video distributors, including large ad networks. Brands and agencies have the right to know exactly where their videos are running and how each placement performs. Therefore, any distributor that does not accept those four simple principles should not be trusted with an advertiser’s budget.

I personally regard the increased scrutiny of the online video space to be a positive
development. In fact, it’s long overdue. As buyers become more educated, they will
help it grow by pushing us to deliver better, more transparent products. At that point,
environments like offer walls can be properly leveraged instead of being abused,
condemned and feared.

Image via Shutterstock

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