What I Learned (And Thought About ) At The Recent Joint Video/Mobile IAB Meeting

This month I attended the IAB’s joint digital video and mobile committees meeting, where the agenda was mobile video. This is an important topic in our multiplatform world: How will advertising previously confined to lengthy pods within long-form content distributed by broadcast, cable and satellite on larger home television screens, work in a mobile, multiscreen, variable-length content environment distributed through cellular networks and WiFi?

LEARNING: The agenda included updates on the recent NewFronts, where 22 presenters talked about online video content and ad formats to over 12,000 industry attendees. THOUGHT: Will there eventually be enough video ad supply that buyers will no longer need to commit large sums in the spring for content that might not even be around the following spring?

LEARNING: The IAB’s “Cross-Screen Marketplace Spotlight: Video” event the day before included mentions of limiting the supply of video. THOUGHT: Why artificially attempt to suppress the supply of video ads? To keep unit pricing high?  A better approach would be to reduce the length and amount of multi-ad pods, for a better user experience and increased attention to ads, and to focus on producing higher quality content. That would let superior product inform unit pricing, as it would in the rest of our economic system.

LEARNING: IAB research was presented on “Trends in Display and Video Ad Sales and Models,”  which is downloadable here. I was intrigued to learn that 52% of respondents selling mobile video inventory report being asked by buyers for cost-per-completed-view pricing. THOUGHT: I recently wrote about the new third dimension of video ad buying: the time ads are viewed. This research tells me that the ad-buying community is ready to look at this metric.

LEARNING: I heard that the IAB is in a “listen and learn” stage around the role of, and possible standards for, dynamic ad insertion for video-on-demand, as content producers and distributors look for ways to monetize long-form programming beyond running the same ads that are initially integrated into the original airing. THOUGHT: This advancement is important as traditional TV providers move to T/V (Television/Video) Everywhere distribution. It’s also an opportunity to reduce cluttered ad loads and become accountable for ads actually viewed.

LEARNING: The IAB also mentioned that the Mobile Marketing Association released its first “Mobile Video Study,” downloadable here. The study showed that engagement with skippable video advertising is robust, despite the option for viewers to bypass ads. Also, more than 75% of all video advertising occurred in-app, the majority on phones. THOUGHT: The first conclusion is probably based primarily on pre-roll, where viewers are awaiting content on the other end. It will be interesting to see this number when formats that go beyond pre-roll take hold. It is a key metric to track. The second point is important to keep an eye on, because many publishers find that their web-app video viewing far surpasses in-app.

LEARNING: There was discussion that with the comments period expected to begin June 30 for the Media Research Council’s recommended standards for minimum video ad viewability measures, there will be renewed interest in connecting viewability measures with traditional TV GRPs. THOUGHT: This will continue to be an ongoing discussion that will shape standards for mobile as well as online.  It occurred to me that in order to compare traditional television with digital online/mobile video, the next step will be building reach curves to show the relationship between reach and frequency and understand frequency distributions. Nielsen, comScore and perhaps other research companies -- we await your participation.

LEARNING: I learned that the IAB offers a Mobile Video Buyers Guide, downloadable here. THOUGHT: I’m glad the IAB and other industry sources are helping those learning the nuances of our quickly changing media landscape. I hope these guides are updated frequently.

CLOSING THOUGHT: In the end, I am pleased to know there are so many resources out there for anyone wanting to understand how video advertising is considered, used, and might be used in the future on mobile platforms. I am also struck by the similarities of key issues for online and mobile platforms.

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