Discussion about programmatic buying is plentiful these days, with many calling it "the hottest sector of advertising right now." As brands and agencies continue testing programmatic options across different types of media, questions - and many opinions - remain about how digital and TV can play together in the programmatic space.
The reality is that both digital and TV could stand to take some cues from one another to improve efficiencies. It's critical to take a realistic perspective on how these media could best converge, easing the buying and selling processes and advancing the entire ad industry. Adopting such an approach will help marketers execute and measure cross-platform campaigns that, as Unilever's CMO Keith Weed remarked at Cannes, will allow them to "lead with brands and not channels."
How can TV buying and planning enhance digital, and vice versa?
As devices continue to proliferate, reaching viewers across multiple screens is becoming an imperative for advertisers. At the recent Video Ad Summit, one of our sessions focused on how advertisers are beginning to do this and what challenges remain. Participants included Larry Adams (Mindshare), Josh Chasin (comScore), Rob Holmes (Comcast), Chuck Parker (Brightcove), Katie Seitz (Tremor), with moderator Jeff Lanctot (Mixpo).
It's no secret that measuring true video usage across screens is currently impossible. And with viewing continuing to fragment across multiple screens, advertisers' ability to allocate campaign spending and optimize their ROI is getting harder all the time.
To address this situation, comScore has published a white paper, proposing a new viewer-centric, integrated approach called "Total Video," which it began discussing last month at the NewFronts. Aiming for a holistic video measurement approach, Total Video has 5 goals: (1) a single, unduplicated audience metric, (2) unified demography across platforms, (3) holistic accounting of all video viewing, (4) scalable measurement of platforms and audiences and (5) flexibility for the future.
BrightRoll announced a number of new and expanded partnerships this morning at its BrightRoll Video Summit, all intended to accelerate programmatic video advertising. They include:
comScore and Nielsen - Integration of comScore's Validated Campaign Essentials (VCE) and Nielsen's Online Campaign Ratings (OCR) so buyers can tap into this measurement data in planning, targeting, optimizing and reporting on their campaigns. Access to the data is being provided free to buyers.
Google - A programmatic integration with DoubleClick so that video ad buyers using BrightRoll will be able to gain real-time access to high-quality inventory in the DoubleClick Ad Exchange, which includes YouTube.
BlueKai - Last, BrightRoll announced that mobile audience targeting is available, with BlueKai as the first 3rd-party mobile data provider that has been integrated. Others are expected this year. The mobile capability means buyers using the BrightRoll platform will be able target audiences beyond desktops, on smartphones and tablets. BlueKai includes 20,000 data categories in a marketplace of 70 million unique iOS and Android users.
(Note: I'm attending the BrightRoll Video Summit this morning and will be continuously tweeting highlights at #BRVS.)
SpotXchange landed at the top of comScore's January, 2014 U.S. rankings with nearly 3.5 billion video ads viewed, up from 2.9 billion in December, 2013. I spoke to SpotXchange's CEO Mike Shehan to learn more about what was behind the rise and get his overall take on the video advertising landscape and programmatic. Mike patiently shared an extremely detailed window into this quite complicated market. An edited transcript follows.
With 3.7 billion video ads served, the combined AOL-Adap.tv has landed atop comScore's September 2013 U.S. Online Video Rankings. (see chart below) It's the first time that AOL has outranked Google (primarily YouTube), which dropped to second with 3.2 billion video ads served. On its own in August, Adap.tv served over 2.5 billion video ads. AOL-Adap.tv was also tops in total ad minutes in September with over 1.6 billion, followed by BrightRoll with nearly 1.3 billion.
Here's an eye-popping data point from last week's comScore online video rankings report for Feb. '13: YouTube's total of 11.3 billion monthly views were down 32% vs. Feb. '12 when it had 16.7 billion views (see chart below). But lest you think viewers are fleeing YouTube, the perennial 800-pound gorilla of the online video market, what really appears to be happening is that a sizable chunk of viewers are shifting their viewing to mobile devices, which as I understand it, is not counted in comScore's data.
Online video ad buying continues to shift toward, but also improve upon, conventional TV ad buying, with the latest evidence that Adap.tv is now optimizing audience targeting against data from Nielsen and comScore.
As Toby Gabriner, Adap.tv's president, explained to me, the process starts with an algorithm the company has developed to predict a publisher's audience composition. The algorithm is based on numerous data "signals" (e.g. content type, time of day, browsing behavior, 3rd party profiling, etc.) that are continuously updated. The audience profiles are then used to focus on impressions that should index high against Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings (OCR) and comScore Validated Campaign Essentials (VCE).
comScore released its October Video Metrix rankings late last week and the good news for YouTube was that with a little over 13 billion videos delivered, its market share nudged up to 35% from September's 33.3%. As I wrote a few weeks ago, that was a record low share for the perennial online video leader, and was actually down from 53.1% just 2 months prior.
However, as the chart below shows, it's the third straight month of share below 40% and may well represent the "new normal" for YouTube's place in the industry. One interesting explanation for the drop in share is the comScore's numbers don't account for mobile (smartphone and tablet) viewing. If proportionately more of YouTube's viewing has shifted to mobile, then the declines in its online share would reflect that.
In my post last Tuesday, I cited comScore data showing that YouTube's share of online video views had dropped to 33.2% in Sept. '12, its lowest level in the 3+ years since I've been keeping track. On our weekly podcast last Friday, Colin Dixon from The Diffusion Group noted that while YouTube's view count was down, its time spent per viewer (sometimes referred to as "engagement") had increased during the past year.
Colin's point was consistent with YouTube's own goals; in response to my post, a YouTube spokesperson had directed me to a company blog post from August, in which Eric Meyerson, head of creator marketing communications, described changes the company had made to "encourage people to spend more time watching, interacting and sharing with the community."
Yesterday comScore released its September 2012 Video Metrix data which showed YouTube accounted for approximately 13.1 billion videos viewed out of the monthly total of 39.4 billion. At 33.2%, that's the lowest market share YouTube has had since Aug. '10 when I started tracking this data. As recently as July '12, YouTube had a 53.1% share (with 19.6 billion videos viewed), though as I pointed out previously, in August, its share dropped unexpectedly to 36.5%.
In addition, the 13.1 billion YouTube videos viewed in September is the lowest in the 13 months since comScore changed its reporting methodology and is nearly 30% lower than the 18.6 billion videos viewed a year ago in Sept. '11 and almost 650 million lower than its Aug '11 total of 13.8 billion videos. (YouTube's record high was 21.9 billion in Dec. '11). See chart below for more.
comScore released its August '12 data on online video usage last week , making it a full 12 months since it changed its reporting methodology. Looking over the data, there are a few things worth pointing out.
First is that AOL has had a very strong year, increasing its videos delivered from 408 million in Sept. '11 to 725 million in Aug. '12, a 78% jump (see chart below). That's the best growth rate of any of the top 10 sites from Sept. '11. It's also the second consecutive month that AOL was in second place to YouTube, the industry's perennial leader. AOL has put a huge emphasis on video, launching the AOL On Network last April, along with a slate of original programming.
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