Digiday+ Research: Video ads are a growing business for publishers large and small

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 →

With today’s focus on short-form video, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that publishers are looking to video advertising as a revenue source with a lot of growth potential.

This is according to a Digiday+ Research survey of 112 publisher professionals.

Digiday’s survey found that nearly three-quarters of publisher pros (74%) make some money from video advertising, with the largest percentage of publisher pros (33%) currently getting a small or very small portion of their revenue from video ads. But that percentage has been falling steadily over the last two years, from 39% in Q1 2021 to one-third in Q1 2023.

Meanwhile, more than a quarter of publishers (26%) said they get none of their revenue from video ads. This particular percentage has fluctuated over the last two years, but as of Q1 2023, it’s up significantly from 15% in Q1 2021. In other words, 74% make at least a very small amount of money from video ads this year, compared with 85% two years ago — which is a big difference.

On the other hand, publishers have historically said growing their video ads business is a large focus for them. In fact, publisher pros who told Digiday they plan to have a large or very large focus on growing this part of their business in the next six months have accounted for the largest percentage in every Digiday survey since Q1 2021, when 42% of respondents said video ads would be a large or very large focus. In Q1 2023, that percentage came in at 39%.

However, the percentage of publisher pros who told Digiday that growing their video ads business would be a small or very small focus shot up this quarter. Thirty-two percent said video ads would be a small or very small focus for their companies in Q1 2023, compared with 21% six months ago and 26% two years ago.

The very interesting thing to note here is the difference between the number of publishers who said they get any amount of revenue from video ads and the number of publishers who said they will put any focus at all on building their video ads business in the next six months. As of Q1 2023, 74% of publisher pros told Digiday they get at least a very small portion of their revenue from video ads. Meanwhile, 81% said they will put at least a very small focus on building this part of their business in the coming months.

The difference between these two data points indicates that, overall, publishers see video ads as a potential area for revenue growth in 2023.

Video advertising’s potential rings most true among small publishers, Digiday’s survey found.

Currently, nearly half of small publishers (or those who made less than $10 million in revenue last year) get none of their revenue from video ads. The 47% of publisher pros working at small publishers who told Digiday they don’t make money from video ads made up the largest group by far, with those who said they make a very small portion of their revenue from video ads coming in second at 17%.

However, the picture looks very different when small publishers consider the potential of video ads as a source of revenue. Only 28% of publisher pros who work for small publishers told Digiday that they won’t focus at all on building their video ads business in the next six months. Meanwhile, 22% said building their video ads business will be a moderate focus, and 19% said video ads will be a large focus.

In other words, slightly more than half of small publishers (53%) currently get some revenue from video ads, but nearly three-quarters (72%) will put at least some focus on building this part of their business in the coming months — which adds up to a lot of potential.

Interestingly, among large publishers, the data points to video advertising already reaching its peak potential — but also that large publishers see potential in growing their video ads business even further at the same time.

Digiday’s survey found that almost all large publishers (or those who made more than $50 million in revenue last year) are already making money from video ads. Only 5% of publisher pros who work for large publishers said they don’t get any revenue from video ads — or, on the flip side, 95% make at least some revenue from video ads. The largest percentage of large publishers make a moderate portion of their revenue from video ads (24% said this), followed by those who make a small or very small portion of their revenue from this part of their business (each category accounted for 20% of publisher pros who work for large publishers).

Meanwhile, just 7% of large publishers told Digiday that they won’t put any focus on building their video ads business in the next six months — or 93% said they will put at least some focus on building this part of their business. The interesting thing to note here is that the 93% who said they’ll focus at least a little on video ads is slightly smaller than the 95% who said they get at least a little revenue from video ads. The difference here could indicate that the potential of video ads for large publishers has already peaked.

However, even more interestingly, the largest percentage of large publishers said building their video ads business will be a very large focus for them in the next six months. In fact, more than one-third of publisher pros (34%) told Digiday this. This group was followed by those who said they’ll put a moderate focus on building their video ads business (27%) and those who said they’ll put a large focus on building this part of their business (22%).

Suffice it to say, publishers of all sizes see video advertising as a growing part of their business.

Want to discuss this with our editors and members? Join here, or if you're already a member.

https://digiday.com/?p=496275

More in Media

The Guardian US is starting its pursuit of political ad dollars

The Guardian US is entering the race for political ad dollars.

How much is Possible’s future in Michael Kassan’s hands?

Some people in the know at Possible said they see the conference taking a bite out of Cannes’ attendance, most acutely by U.S.-based marketers who could save money by staying on this side of the Atlantic.

AI Briefing: How AI misinformation affects consumer thoughts on elections and brands

To boost its efforts around brand safety, IPG is adding more tools for identifying harmful content while also helping advertisers avoid appearing near it.