ADOTAS – Adobe has released its first report on online video monetization, in conjunction with today’s National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) conference in Las Vegas. Among other things, the report, which came together using data from 2.5 billion ad impressions during the second half of 2011, found that mid-roll ads continue to outperform both pre-roll and post-roll (mid-roll shows an 87 percent completion rate, nearly 30 percent higher than for pre-roll), video ads on mobile devices have a 94 percent completion rate on average, and the completion rate for video ads in live content trumps that for video-on-demand to the tune of 85 percent (live) to 52 percent (VOD). And as more TV networks and other publishers bring more long-form content to the web, they’re also serving more ads within that content — five and a half ads per long-form video, according to the survey, with an average completion rate of 70 percent (that breaks down into 76 percent for professional content and 63 percent for user-generated content).
Adobe amassed the data behind this report through ad management and monetization platform Adobe Auditude — Adobe acquired Auditude back in October, and the company’s CEO, Jeremy Helfand, became Adobe’s vice president of video monetization. What the Auditude platform does, Helfand explained in a phone conversation last week, is “ad insertion to monetize content for premium publishers, wherever that content is being delivered,” and combining the delivery of content, ads and the analytics behind them in one package. And the numbers from this report show, Helfand said, “similarities between video ads online and traditional broadcast, driven by more long-form content being online,” and also by more live streaming video content. And he said the stats for engagement on mobile devices should be a lesson to publishers. “There’s all this pent-up demand and desire for content on all kinds of devices,” he said. “So much more of the world is wifi-enabled.” As high as the completion rates were for mid-roll in general, Helfand pointed out they were even higher for mobile. While video content and the ways in which people consume media have evolved tremendously in recent years, “business models to support that content has not evolved that quickly. Businesses have had to make decisions about what they’re going to support — you and I would never watch TV and expect to see a ‘buffering’ notice before an ad.”
That said, Helfand said there’s more to assuring better performance for video ads than just supporting more devices and platforms. He pointed to one of the study’s findings, which revealed that while live content saw higher completion rates (the report surmised viewers are more apt to hold their concentration throughout the duration of a live stream, knowing they probably won’t get a chance to replay the video later), “from a click-through perspective, VOD performs better,” he explained. Helfand mused on what those stats might suggest: “To me, it’s more of a call that creative execution needs to be different,” he said. Maybe the advertiser could mount a campaign where the user could “interact with the ad more” or “have a companion experience” to the ad itself.
Helfand acknowledged that as promising as the stats for engagement with video ads are now, there’s still work that needs to be done. “One, how do we get more professional content online?,” he asked aloud, regarding where the industry might find room for improvement. “Two, how do you improve the experience for the user? To me, pre-roll is to video what the pop-up was in 1999.” Nevertheless, he said, because there’s less long-form video on the web than on television and because of technological complexities in supporting various devices, “the vast majority” of video ads are pre-roll. And the third challenge Helfand named was “clearly a measurement tool. What is the currency that’ll cut across both online and broadcast?”
Adobe has shared information about the study, including the full report and further observations from Helfand, on its blog.