The growth in spend on online video advertising.
Last year, a study from the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB), found that online video advertising spend in the UK had increased 59 percent year-on-year to £202 million. Mobile video advertising alone rose 196 percent to £63.9 million, making it the fastest-growing digital ad format.
As digital ad spend continues to rise, advertisers are increasingly questioning the level of end user engagement with their digital video advertising to ensure that ads are actually being seen by end users, rather than skipped or being unwatched.
To preserve the credibility and effectiveness of digital video advertising (and to ensure that advertising spend in this channel continues to rise), agencies and publishers are coming under increasing pressure to track and report to advertisers on whether their adverts have appeared in-view of the end user when they are served.
When is an online video advert viewed?
The Media Ratings Council (MRC) in the US (and the IAB in the UK) have established viewability standards. The MRC, in June of last year, recommended that in-browser video viewability should be defined as “a minimum of 50 per cent in view for a minimum of two seconds”.
In January this year, Google announced that it will now report to advertisers and publishers on whether or not their digital adverts delivered by DoubleClick are actually being “viewed” (applying the MRC’s definition of viewability for display advertising). Historically, Google has reported on whether video ads were served rather than actually viewed. The announcement from Google follows on from its report at the end of last year into ad viewability which found that roughly 56% of all impressions on Google’s ad platforms are not viewable.
Whilst viewability is certainly an important measurement of the value of online video ads, there are other things such as audibility and whether a video advert was user-initiated or auto-play, which are also important measurements of viewer engagement for advertisers. The industry as a whole is still in disagreement as to what constitutes a video being viewed and what the relevant metrics (and associated weightings) should be when determining viewer engagement.
As the types of online video advertising proliferates, it may become increasingly difficult for the industry to apply a uniform standard to measure viewability for all adverts. For instance, an advertiser may expect a different standard of viewability for adverts which are over a minute long and/or in premium spots within the publisher’s site, in order to justify the increased cost of such placement.
Bob Wootton, ISBA’s Director of Media and Advertising, and certain advertisers have questioned the existing MRC viewability standards for digital video advertising:
“There is a discussion to be had around the Media Rating Council’s Viewability Standard that has been implemented in the US. Seeing an ad for two seconds with 50 per cent in view surely is a very low bar to meet when talking about viewable impresions”.