For the online video industry to reach its full potential we need to think of video advertising in the same way we think of TV, not as display or rich media. Online video is viewed lean back and not forward with the hand on the mouse. This isn’t in-banner video, which is actually display.
It’s an important distinction.It is apparent that the online video market is suffering from a problem that is quite rare in the digital universe – a lack of clear and quantifiable campaign success metrics. We still don’t know how to properly measure online video campaigns which would allow us to differentiate between networks and distinguish between good inventory and creative to bad ones. There’s confusion about whether a video ad appearing before a piece of video content is the same as a video ad in a banner space.
In the world of display and search it’s quite simple: compare cost per click, click-through rate and engagement metrics between your different audiences, creative and inventory. That affords a pretty straightforward means of measuring. However, the world of digital video has not yet found its metrics.
Unfortunately, many brands, when considering a video campaign, still ask publishers and networks about click-through rates, mouse-overs and mouse interactions in order to evaluate the success of their campaign. The problem is that these parameters have little or nothing to do with the success of a video campaign.
Let me explain. With online video, much like TV, 100 percent of the audience is fully experiencing the ad. Viewers actively choose to view the content and are focused completely on your brand. You have already gained their attention. This is one reason why the CPMs are so high.
Now, all you need to do is to make sure you buy the right audience and deliver the best possible video creative. No matter how good or bad the creative is and relevant or irrelevant the audience, there will always be that 1 percent of the market, the ‘clickers’ and engagers. These clickers probably do not represent your audience and they definitely do not reflect any measure of success of your campaign. The data produced by the 1 percent clickers is insignificant because the numbers are too small.
However, in display, a click represents something very different because only a small percentage of your audience is exposed to your ad. As a matter of fact, most impressions do not even grab a viewer’s attention. Therefore, with display, clicks or engagements become a good way to measure how much attention you actually captured.
The distinction between display and video is important. In online video everyone is exposed to the ad. You just need to make sure you’ve published the right creative and are reaching the right audience. With display, you should measure the attention you’ve gotten. It is a totally different way to advertise and therefore a totally different way of measuring.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t blame brands for asking about click-through rates, mouse-overs and mouse engagements. First of all, they are used to display and RM campaigns. Second, some networks and technology providers, while trying to differentiate their video offerings, create unnecessary confusion in the market by telling customers about better flash layers, clicks, mouse-overs, engagement and other irrelevant metrics.
Having said all that, how do we measure?
We research. We check for brand awareness, favorability, memorability, purchase intent, etc. There is not yet any magic formula. The best way nowadays is to get user opinions about viewed content. Companies are investing effort into creating innovative solutions to finding the right metrics in the video ad space: TidalTV is putting math into optimizing brand message and user response, BrightRoll is spending $1 million on research, YouTube is launching the TrueView and Yume is talking about measuring video like TV.
Brand managers, hang in there. The right metrics and strategy will unveil itself. In the meantime, don’t believe the mouse engagement pitch!
Oren Harnevo is CEO of Eyeview, a targeted ad platform for online video. Follow him on Twitter @ohnevo.