The complex, noisy world of digital advertising has become an increasingly challenging environment for brands to navigate. Growing numbers of advertisers are questioning whether they should be making the journey at all, contemplating reversing course and heading back to the familiar shores of traditional television. However, in stark contrast to the recent quality and transparency challenges often associated with some of the long-tail and exchange-purchased video, premium video represents a beacon of light that brands can rely on to safely find the audiences that will deliver the best outcomes.
Premium video publishers deliver valuable audiences at scale, in a high-quality, safe and transparent context. Additionally, premium video significantly protects advertisers against risks inherent in lower-tier audience-only/audience-anywhere models, instead offering targetable and quantifiably real viewers across multiple screens.
But where premium video truly demonstrates its differentiated value is in terms of delivering engaged audiences.
New data not only highlights that premium video is highly viewable, but also that the industry should be elevating the conversation to engagement instead of just focusing on metrics that are more necessary for lower-tier inventory. For example, a recent Moat-FreeWheel Council study shows an almost 38 percentage point improvement for premium video in a key engagement metric that measures if an ad was audible and visible upon completion—not just whether it was viewable for a couple of seconds.
In addition, premium video is experiencing the fastest growth across inherently viewable, fraud-free, and advertiser-friendly environments such as over-the-top and set-top box video-on-demand, according to FreeWheel's fourth quarter Video Monetization Report. This type of viewing continues to solidify premium video differentiation by fostering engagement with both the content and the advertising message in the same way as traditional television.
However, despite the clear and differentiated value of premium video, growth is being stymied by some bad actors and the inherent risks within certain transactional models. And the irony is that in an effort to apply the full set of controls from audience-only models to premium video, the entire ecosystem is held back—brands, programmers and viewers alike.
Not All Video Is Created Equal
Real human, engaged audiences at scale; brand-safe; viewable content; dynamic results—premium video is all these things. While nonpremium publishers and advertisers continue to grapple with verification issues, much of the value of premium video lies in its insulation from many of these concerns.
Metrics tell us that premium video rises above the fraud challenge that plagues other digital inventory. The numbers also tell us that viewability rates are solid, and common sense tells us that viewability is inherently assured on certain screens. The time has come to tell the next most significant part of premium's story: Premium video audiences are enormously engaged viewers.
The completion quality data proves it. Viewers of premium video are in the ideal mindset for advertisers to create positive associations by placing smart, well-made advertising messages in the context of high-quality, professionally produced content. The alignment of advertising brands within engaging viewing experiences, combined with the power of data ensures the right message is delivered to the right viewer at the right time.
The time is upon us for the industry to come together around premium video, to agree that it is the benchmark. Tactical and technical issues represent longstanding and in some cases, unsolvable problems for nonpremium players. Premium publishers and advertisers don't have to share that fate—they can work with each other in newly streamlined ways, developing on the efficiencies afforded by the insulated nature of premium. Establishing a common ground over these transactional efficiencies is the ultimate goal.
A good place to start will be the recognition that not all video is created equal, and that premium video's differentiation demands that it be considered as a distinct and unique media channel.
Buyers and sellers should be elevating the conversation for premium video beyond transactional proof of delivery against foundational metrics. Premium video measurement models should be relevant to the goals of the campaign and enable advertisers to understand the benefits of associating your brand with highly engaging content. This will result in more streamlined transactions, better business outcomes for advertisers, and growth of the entire ecosystem.
When the industry sets this precedent, the future of premium video will see that the most valuable and engaged audiences drive the most valuable experiences and returns for advertisers.
This is the promise of the unrivaled value of premium video.