Video ad viewability has been a hot-button issue among advertisers and publishers over the last few years, especially as programmatic video buying has increased, bringing the topic to the forefront. With the fast rise in online video ad dollars comes the unfortunate side effect of ad fraud and bad traffic. But some relief is in sight for ad viewability woes, according to a just-released study by Integral Ad Science discussed by eMarketer.
The percentage of online video ads that were viewable hit 39% for the fourth quarter, a 9% rise over the period before, according to the research. That percentage is still less than the viewability rate for display ads bought from publishers, which is 53%. That 39% is also lower than the rate for display ads bought from ad networks, which is 43%. But the jump is the largest increase among formats, said eMarketer in its analysis of the research. eMarketer attributes the increase to the greater industry focus on viewability, as well as the growing use of technology that helps optimize whether ads are in view.
In the last year a number of industry initiatives have cropped up to combat fraud and provide marketers with better insight into the issue. ComScore introduced Industry Trust, a system that helps buyers evaluate viewability. In addition, online video platform YuMe paired up with an analytics firm last year to provide specific insight and measurements on whether ads are viewed, while ad platform TubeMogul has also been active in providing tools for the industry to measure ad views.
These efforts appear to be working, given the Integral Ad Science findings. As viewability increases, so do other positive measurements. In the fourth quarter, video ad completion rates in the U.S. grew six percentage points from the quarter before, clocking in at 26% of ads completed, the Integral Ad Science report found. However, ad fraud is still a key issue; Integral Ad Science says that video has a fraud rate of 10.6%.
Digital video ad spend in the U.S. is slated to rise 30% this year, up from 56% growth in 2014. Video ads should finish the year at $7.77 billion.
Programmatic increases video viewability, as offered by Tremor Video, Adgorithms, and others. However, publishers’ policies and practices would increase viewability even faster. The problem is too much money is still being made on unviewable videos. Programmatic will eventually win that battle.