At VideoNuze’s Connected TV Advertising Summit last month, one of the issues most often raised by speakers was frequency. Sometimes speakers articulated the issue through their lens as an industry participant; other times it was from their own personal experience. For example, in our final session of the conference, Cara Lewis, EVP, Head of US Investment for Amplifi USA / Dentsu spoke about her experience streaming during the miserably cold Memorial Day weekend (slightly edited for clarity):
“Frequency is definitely an issue. And I can tell you just for myself and my viewing experience this weekend, it was extremely rainy. And I watched a lot of CTV and I kept on seeing the same commercial over and over again, which is completely frustrating because I'm being told as somebody who's buying these ads that we have a frequency cap. Maybe those advertisers didn’t have one, but if they did what I saw was well over what I know our advertisers put in as a frequency cap.”
My experience mirrors Cara’s, as I mentioned in Q&A after moderating a CTV session at Pubmatic’s ENVISION conference two weeks ago. As VideoNuze readers know, I watch a lot of professional golf, on Golf Channel, NBC and CBS, most often on my Roku devices and using YouTube TV. It is mind-boggling how often the same ads are repeated. Admittedly I’m not sure if what I’m experiencing is a CTV frequency issue. It could have much more to do with the TV network, the rights of tournament sponsors, faulty legacy TV system frequency capping, shortage of available campaigns, etc. Who knows.
Regardless of the root cause, as Cara said, as a viewer it’s frustrating and diminishes the experience (and because I’m never able to fully take my industry analyst hat off, even on weekends, I can’t stop thinking “really, where IS all this great adtech that I write about each week?”)
Having said all of that, a new report from Innovid and the ANA, “Decoding CTV Measurement,” asserts that the frequency problem is actually both “highly exaggerated” and likely only limited to very particular situations. Innovid and ANA studied 35 campaigns from 20 big advertisers, representing $35 million in ad spend across 169 publishers and 25+ connected device types.
Welcome to this week’s edition of Inside the Stream, the podcast where nScreenMedia’s Chief Analyst Colin Dixon and I take listeners inside the world of streaming video.
This week we’re pleased to have Zvika Netter, CEO and Co-Founder of Innovid, as our guest. Innovid has been in video advertising for 14 years, evolving from an early player in interactive ads to become the leading delivery and measurement platform for brands and agencies. Importantly, as Zvika explains, Innovid has held fast over the years to being independent - not involved with any media buying or selling, which he views as a clear differentiator.
Late last week Innovid achieved a major milestone, by filing to go public via a SPAC. Zvika explains the decision process, and his points are a great counterpart to our conversation last week with JW Player’s Dave Otten, who also considered a SPAC, but decided instead to raise a large private round.
But the bulk of our time with Zvika is spent drilling into CTV, what’s driving the business, the key challenges, how they’re being addressed, what’s ahead, and of course, what role Innovid is playing. For anyone who wants a really deep dive into CTV, the interview is an intimate window into the CTV ad buyers’ perspective and how this is influencing the future shape of the industry.
(Note, Colin and I will be taking a break next week for the holiday, so we’ll be back in a couple of weeks)
Listen to the podcast (32 minutes, 17 seconds)
I’m pleased to present the 517th edition of the VideoNuze podcast, with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. As always, we hope our listeners are staying well.
This week Colin and I discuss how new “virtual linear” channels will translate into more viewer engagement and advertising in connected TV. We start the discussion reviewing new data from Innovid and Pixalate showing healthy gains in both CTV ad impressions and programmatic spending.
Adding to the momentum will be virtual channels, which are essentially on-demand playlists of themed programming. Many CTV platforms are adding these free, ad-supported channels. Colin points out a new partnership between Endemol Shine and Vizio for four unscripted virtual channels. Roku was also in the news this week, launching 40 virtual channels with various programming partners. Virtual channels are also a key feature for Peacock. Colin and I expect the trend to gain momentum.
Listen in to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (21 minutes, 51 seconds)
Global connected TV ad impressions were up 36% year-over-year during the week of May 24-30, according to new data released by Innovid. The growth rate is above the prior week’s growth rate of 27%, but below the 4-week CTV average of 44%. It is still well above other devices; during the same period, mobile video ad impressions were down 26% year-over-year (compared with a 5% drop for the prior week) and PC/desktop video impressions were down 20% (compared with a 12% drop during the prior week).
GroupM’s advanced TV unit MODI Media will use Innovid as its preferred ad server for all connected TV campaigns, the companies announced today. Seth Walters, senior partner at MODI, who oversees its connected TV business, told me that Innovid addresses a key pain point of delivering video adds into the highly fragmented connected TV space, while also offering real-time analytics on campaign performance across devices.
Just before the holidays, Innovid, one of the pioneers of online video advertising, raised a $27.5 million round, including $12.5 million in debt. It was one of the larger financings in the video ad tech space in the last several months and followed a March, 2015 $10 million investment in Innovid by Cisco. Innovid’s CEO and co-founder Zvika Netter caught me up on plans for the new funds and the company’s transition to a leading video ad server. Following is an edited transcript.
VideoNuze: Congratulations on the new financing. How will you use the funds?
Zvika Netter: We plan on using the funds for 2 main purposes: First, technology - We are continually innovating based on both what our partners need to help grow their businesses and how we envision the Future of TV advertising. And second, international expansion – 80% of our clients are global brands and agencies. We’ve been asked by most of them to provide similar solutions and services in new markets in EMEA and APAC.
Innovid has released its Q3 2015 State of Interactivity Report, based on a survey of 200+ U.S. media buyers in August, which provides insights about their priorities and preferences. Per the chart below, over 92% of respondents said they’re currently buying pre-roll video ads, slightly ahead of display. Mobile video was fourth with 85% buying it. Further down in the eighth position was Interactive Video (61%) and in tenth position, connected TV (55%).
Connected TVs are soaring in popularity due to plummeting prices of smart TVs and the proliferation of inexpensive devices like Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast and others. As more homes adopt connected TV devices and long-form online viewership shifts to them, there’s a huge opportunity for advertising.
This was the topic of discussion for the Video Ad Summit session, “Connected TVs and Advertising: A Match Made in the Living Room,” which included Tal Chalozin (CTO and Co-Founder, Innovid), Ashish Chordia (CEO and Founder, Alphonso), Josh Mallalieu (VP, Partner, Portfolio Management, Universal McCann) and Scott Rosenberg (VP, Advertising, Roku) with Colin Dixon (Chief Analyst and Founder, nScreenMedia) moderating.
The session touched on what types of video ad units are working best on connected TVs, how advertisers are using data to target audiences on connected TVs, why mobile is benefiting connected TVs, how the ad experience on connected TVs is becoming richer and much more.
Innovid has raised $10 million in additional capital from Cisco Investments and existing investors, bringing total capital raised to date to $37.6 million. The new funds will be used for product development. Cisco and Innovid announced a partnership back in September, 2013, to deliver interactive, contextual video ads to second screens.
Aside from the financing, the big news from Innovid is the huge growth in its Innovid Atom video ad serving platform for brands and agencies. According to CEO and co-founder Zvika Netter, who I caught up with on Friday, Innovid has gone from 20 brands using its platform last July, to 110 now. This is expected to rise to 145 by the end of Q2 '15. Included among these are Kraft, Disney, Toyota, Chrysler and dozens of others.
Innovid has released results of a study that concludes placing video ads with relevant video content helps to boost ad engagement. Innovid analyzed 3 campaigns using its iRoll format with the Innovid Atom Verification solution. Innovid measured number of ad impressions, verified video content categories and engagement rates.
Specifically, the study compared a campaign's engagement rate for ads served with relevant video vs. the engagement rate for overall impressions. Engagement rates were 1.9x and 1.4x higher respectively, for 2 of the campaigns, travel and auto, when the ad vertical aligned with the content category. However for the 3rd campaign (for pharma) it was 2.3x higher than overall when running against sports video specifically.
Viewability has emerged as one of the hottest topics in the online video industry this year, for good reason - video ads that aren't seen diminish the advertiser's ROI and undermine the integrity of the market.
However, the industry is addressing viewability and at the recent Video Ad Summit, IAB presented a session that dug into the details. Participants included Rob Brett (Viacom), Tal Chalozin (Innovid), David Gunzerath (MRC) and Julian Zilberbrand (Zenith Optimedia) with Matt Prohaska moderating.
Innovid announced today that it has been chosen as the preferred video ad partner for Atlas, the ad serving and measurement platform which Facebook acquired from Microsoft last year. As a result of the deal, Innovid will be integrated with Atlas so that clients can run addressable and interactive video ad campaigns across screens via one unified console. Analytics for the Innovid video ads will also be provided within Atlas and billing is integrated.
Interactive video advertising provider Innovid and Cisco are building on their previously announced partnership, announcing an initiative to have ads dynamically delivered to second screens using voice-based metadata from TV programs. Innovid's CTO and co-founder Tal Chalozin showed me a demo last week of Cisco's cloud-based technology analyzing words spoken in TV programming to generate keywords and context. The information was then passed to Innovid which delivered a relevant, interactive ad to the viewer's second screen within a few seconds.
Interactive video advertising provider Innovid, and technology giant Cisco have unveiled a new partnership today at IBC meant to deliver interactive, contextual video ads to second screens.
As Innovid's CEO and co-founder Zvika Netter explained to me, the proof-of-concepts at IBC show how Innovid taps in, via API, to a Cisco-powered metadata stream associated with a pay-TV operator's services to TVs and second screen apps. The metadata allows Innovid to deliver interactive iRoll ads to the second screen apps that are synched with ads that are running on TV. A second proof-of-concept also shows this done by location. Second screen apps from pay-TV providers have become a key priority as part of their TV Everywhere initiatives.
For many viewers, a pre-roll ad is just a 15 or 30-second interruption before the content plays. But now advertisers can make their pre-rolls full-blown interactive experiences with multiple engagement opportunities. At the recent Video Ad Summit, Patty Everett, Associate Media Director at Turner Media explained how, using a sample campaign to illustrate her points in discussion with Jack Flanagan from Innovid.
In the session, Patty details how an interactive pre-roll for Cartoon Network's Hall of Game awards drove awareness, voting and ultimately tune-in. Patty also explains the key challenges in developing interactive pre-rolls and what advertisers need to do to succeed. Advertisers and publishers looking to get more out of their pre-roll will get great insights.
The video is below and runs 13 minutes, 20 seconds.
TubeMogul announced today that it will be offering real-time buying for mobile video ads on smartphones and tablets across public and private exchanges that generated over 94 million daily streams in February. TubeMogul believes this is the greatest reach of mobile video streams assembled to date, enabling buyers to centrally tap into the exploding world of mobile video usage. Top sites are routinely citing mobile usage as now accounting for between 25-50% of their video streams.
Innovid has raised an $11 million series C round from existing investors Sequioa Capital, Genesis Partners and T-Ventures, along with new investor Vintage Investment Partners. With the new round, the company has raised $27.6 million to date. Innovid CEO and co-founder Zvika Netter told me the company experienced a very strong Q3 and Q4 in 2012, contributing to 450% year-over-year growth. The new financing will help the company expand its ad platform beyond online, mobile and tablet to also reach connected TVs, game consoles, VOD and broadcast.
Innovid's technology platform allows advertisers to integrate interactive elements into their pre-roll video ads, increasingly the likelihood of engagement and improving ROI. As Innovid's iRoll gallery shows, these can include social sharing, links to mini-sites, special offers/commerce, supplementary content, etc. Interactivity is added to the ads easily through the iRoll Studio. Innovid also offers ad serving and advanced analytics that track exactly how users engage with the interactive elements.
Innovid is announcing this morning that its iRoll interactive video ad format is now also available for delivery in mobile to smartphones and tablets. This means that the same iRoll ad can be used online and in mobile, from the same ad server providing unified cross-platform analytics. Innovid's CEO Zvika Netter told me he believes this is a first for in-stream video ads. Innovid is also announcing that BrightRoll has become the first network to adopt the mobile iRoll and that several multi-screen campaigns are already live.
Innovid, which enables online video advertisers and publishers to add interactive elements such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and sharing to their campaigns, is announcing that VAST and VPAID ad tags will now be auto-created within its iRoll Studio.
The enhancement eliminates the work flow process step of advertisers and publishers needing to submit their ads back to Innovid for tags to be created before campaigns can be trafficked out. This in turn reduces cost and resources to turn typical pre-roll ads into an iRoll ad.