Commentary

Working With Video Ad Networks

Marketers in most product categories are now using pre-roll and in-banner video ads in their media plans. In 2009, the industry saw a sharp increase in repurposed TV ads being used online, and the adoption rate in 2010 is even greater. And the number of agencies buying online video advertising with the video ad networks continues to increase.

Targeted pre-roll ads are now the norm when working with the video ad networks. The majority of buyers still use CTR as their primary success metric, and they can now buy specific demographics/psychographics at the impression level to maximize that CTR. When the buyer has a performance metric that he or she needs to achieve, in-market shopper targeting, BT, keyword targeting and retargeting/de-targeting/conversion tracking are being used. It doesn't matter if you're trying to get in-market car buyers to sign up for a test drive or get a consumer to buy a pizza during specific hours of the day, multiple performance metrics can be achieved due to the advanced targeting options now available.

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Pre-roll ads have proven to be the most effective online ad unit for increasing indexes across several branding metrics (awareness, recall, favorability, purchase intent). When run concurrently with TV ads, pre-roll ads have even greater lift across all of the metrics. A recent Nielsen IAG and Microsoft study is one of many released over the past five years that demonstrate the effectiveness of pre-roll advertising.

When working with the networks, transparency is necessary to ensure the client's ads only run on approved sites. Recently, third-party companies have been able to report detailed information on ad placement for each site where the ad is running. When the ad networks include this third-party reporting, the advertiser can run video ads on tens of thousands of sites that have environments advertisers would find appealing.

When selecting a site list, agency folks debate whether they should work with both premium and non-premium sites. Both brand name premium sites and non-premium sites offer a safe environment for reaching the targeted viewer. It is imperative that the network guarantees that the non-premium sites fit in the content category vertical being sold to the buyer.

Media cost efficiencies are also attractive. The video networks can offer lower overall CPMs while protecting each site included in the network. Networks do not sell a short list of sites, nor do they guarantee impression delivery on specific sites. This protects the publishers that work with the networks, and it allows the buyer to dramatically increase audience reach.

3 comments about "Working With Video Ad Networks".
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  1. Mike Einstein from the Brothers Einstein, June 17, 2010 at 9:57 a.m.

    This article misses the mark at every turn. Pre-roll is a loser for what should be obvious reasons, and the idea that marketers can and/or should legislate taste in their prospects by cherry-picking sites is just as stupid, and I'll prove it by asking a simple question:

    Let's say you're an auto dealer who's open on Sundays. Two guys come into your showroom...one having just come from church, and the other from a fling with his mistress.

    Whom would you prefer to sell a car to?

    That's what I thought you'd say.

  2. Eric Steckel from Turnpike Digital, June 17, 2010 at 1:01 p.m.

    As opposed to Mr. Einstein's opinion, I think it's valuable to be able to target my audience by cherry-picking websites. I want control over that. If I'm selling cookware, I want my ads to be run on sites that target 20-35 YO women, not men; Paula Dean and Wedding planners, not golf enthusiasts. I don't really care if they have come from church or not, so I really don't know what that point was.

  3. Mike Einstein from the Brothers Einstein, June 23, 2010 at 9:43 a.m.

    Eric,

    Let me suggest you use your own money - not somebody else's - to buy yourself a nice pre-roll campaign on all of your favorite websites. You'll soon realize that nobody wants to suffer through the same commercial online they willingly pay extra to avoid offline. And by the way, don't be surprised if you go broke in the process.

    These studies cited in the article are classic examples of measuring the tallest midget. The industry has already distanced itself from the CTR, despite it being the coin of the online realm not so long ago. Pre-roll may be a taller midget, but a midget nonetheless.

    The whole concept of premium sites versus non-premium sites reminds me of the sage advice of that 20th century advertising icon, Charlie Tuna, who taught us what good marketers should already know, namely that we don't want prospects with good taste, but prospects that taste good. That's what I was getting to with my analogy of the audo dealer who's open on Sundays.

    Mass media is all about audience reach, and you can't reach anybody with a product - ads - that nobody wants and everybody is equipped to avoid.

    We have an overabundance of supply - the ad inventory - for which there is absolutely no consumer demand, and the fact that you can buy online "impressions" all day long for a buck per thousand ought to tell you something...They're virtually worthless (not my opinion, but rather the opinion of those doing the pricing).

    We now have more places for ads to appear online than we have people to avoid them, and the only scalable thing in sight is Google's AR list of advertising intermediaries that don't get it.

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