Online Video Ads Are On The Rise: How Do You Measure Success?

Ad spending on digital video is poised to grow from its current 2012 estimate of $3 billion to more than $8 billion by 2016, according to eMarketer.

As we all know, advertising dollars move to where eyeballs shift, and if industry predictions are correct, an additional 30 million eyeballs will be moving to digital video, totaling 201 million viewers in four short years.

What will it for mean for advertisers if by 2016 over 200 million people are watching digital video? How can advertisers spend those $8 billion dollars judiciously? Most importantly, of all the video metrics you can measure, what should you measure and how should you measure it?

Video May Be A Single Click Action, But A Single Click Metric Does Not Tell The Whole Story

The video-watching experience for most individuals is initiated by a click. Advertisers have learned that they can “rent” a few crucial seconds of the viewer’s attention span before he or she gets to the content. They gauge how effectively the advertisement was placed by measuring whether people watched and clicked on it, thus showing interest in the product or offer advertised.

While the click metric is important, it’s prudent to weigh that metric with others such as views, conversions and gross rating points (GRP). It’s together that the metrics paint a more definitive picture of what affect your brand has on the viewer in the video environment.

Understanding The Video Environment Helps Inform Measurement

Let’s first talk about the viewer experience of digital video content and consciously note that not all environments are created equal. Yes, video is often considered a lean-back content channel, but that is way too broad as there are degrees of how far back people lean when consuming digital video.

For example, I may be mindlessly shifting through YouTube, or clicking on a clip my friend linked me to, or watching a video an article referred me to. These environments are intrinsically very different for me.

The question at hand is what content advertisers are piggybacking (yes piggybacking) on? Is the content long-form or short-form? Is it episodic? Is it a user-generated video, where the producers had no intention of monetization, or is it professionally produced and meant for advertisements?

It is important to understand the nature of the video content as it indicates the initial intent of the viewer (why he or she is watching in the first place). Understanding viewer intent in more detail will allow you to make smarter pre-campaign decisions that will align your advertisements with the viewer’s video environment.

I’m aware that some of the answers to these questions are not easily attainable, especially if you’re buying from a video exchange/network. But it is important to understand what types of content your ad lives on, as that will provide a framework to help you decide how to weigh each metric.

The Metrics:

Below are six important video metrics according to a 2012 survey of agencies from eMarketer & BrightRoll (the percentages indicate how each metric ranks in terms of importance in video campaigns). For this article’s purpose I’m going to talk in more depth about the four real-time metrics (bolded) that can be easily measured in the natural environment the video ad is being served on.

  1. Views (26%)
  2. Brand Lift (23%)
  3. Sales Impact (22%)
  4. Conversion (15%)
  5. CTR (9%)
  6. GRP (5%)

Views, conversions, CTR and GRP should be leading indicators signaling whether your video ad was seen by who you want and whether those folks are buying. For example if you’re in the auto industry and you need consumers to visit a site where they can configure car specs, get quotes and visit a car lot, then clicks and conversions are pretty important!

But you need people to like your new car first before they engage, so you need to make sure they are actually viewing your ad.

What I’m getting to is that there is a natural behavioral progression of actions. After all, typically you have to first see the ad before you click, and often times you have to click before you buy. The GRP (which equals Reach x Frequency) is a fundamental navigational metric. What this means is that GRP should help steer the campaign towards a conversion when coupled with views and clicks.

When used holistically, video metrics help tell a complete story about interest and engagement. Marketers who look beyond the single click and leverage the four real-time metrics in combination will be in a better position to truly measure the impact of their video campaigns.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.

Related Topics: Analytics & Marketing Column | Channel: Video | Video


About The Author: is the Director of Product Management at PulsePoint, where he is responsible for developing and implementing the company’s digital video initiatives. Derek’s passion and expertise in the digital space is built from more than six years of experience in building innovative products and services for publishers and brands.

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