Fraud and viewability have been the hot topics of 2014. And for a good reason -- with digital dollars eclipsing traditional spend, everyone involved in digital advertising should be accountable for legitimate, authentic engagements.
Some video placements are, by their nature, more visible and engaging than others. As the industry develops viewability standards and third-party verification technologies evolve, planning campaigns will get even more complex, but there are simple steps that a brand can take to make sure its ads are always viewable and to avoid fraud.
How to define video viewability
While we wait for industry standards, advertisers have the opportunity to define viewability for themselves. Many video standards based on time-on-page and percentages of ads on-screen evolved from old display conventions. We define viewability as being completely in-screen; users are able to see an entire video unit, and it stays on screen until completion. This definition works for brands telling stories through video, and it works for videos on any device.
For me, complete viewability makes the most sense, especially when looking at the definition of a successful campaign. Completed video views and video interactions only matter when videos are completely in-screen and watchable.
Work with vendors you trust. Anyone can promise premium placement and in-target delivery, but a few questions will separate trustworthy vendors from bad actors. Ask your vendors for upfront site lists and guaranteed placements. Holding ad tech providers accountable helps create a cleaner industry in the long run.
Look for video units that require a click before they play. User-initiated views have a number of advantages:
- The audience self-selects, so your content is seen by engaged, interested consumers.
- User-initiated views are more likely to be completed than pre-roll views.
- Typically, user-initiated video will be less susceptible to fraudulent views than auto-play.
While user-initiated video may cost more than buying pre-roll, it provides a safe way of delivering ROI.
Strong calls-to-action and click-through performance
Great campaigns drive consumers to do more than just watch a commercial. Videos that enable a call-to-action at the end give advertisers a tool to extend their storytelling. By leading with a well-placed video that compels an audience to take some kind of action, brands can drive KPIs far beyond just completed views.
Calls-to-action are also a great hedge to evaluate how many "real people" view your videos. Reputable providers have benchmarked performance for click-throughs on video executions and can provide advertisers with an accurate range for likely video engagement.
Advertisers should look for digital approaches that provide viewability and engagement by design. Realistic definitions of viewability, along with vendor transparency, should be the cost of entry for choosing digital partners. By building creative video plans with trustworthy partners, brands and agencies can make sure their content reaches their real audience on the other side of the screen.
Mitchell Reichgut is CEO of Jun Group.
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