The digital video market has entered its adolescence. We are bigger and stronger, but still in our awkward teens. We must grow up as an industry and prove that digital video is just as safe and transparent as our TV parent.
For more than 60 years, TV has allowed advertisers to speak to a broad audience, estimating where their ads ran and who saw the messages. As more and more advertisers look to both expand reach and, at the same time, tell a more customized and interactive message with digital, they are encountering challenges they've never faced before.
But first the good news: The industry has grown up beyond its infancy over the last year, recognizing that the selling power of TV also needs to be in place for digital. Enter Nielsen's Online Campaign Ratings (OCR). Enter comScore's Validated Campaign Essentials (vCE). Enter Vindico's advanced reporting (OpenPixel). The adoption of GRP-based measurements acts as a great indication that the market is growing up, and following the footsteps of its older -- and certainly wealthier -- TV parent. The focus on demographic delivery and content validation is reflection of maturity. The biggest challenge that advertisers face is not content. It's not reach. It's not demographics. It's all about the execution of the ads.
With a mix of emotion, blind whim, intelligence, defiance and uncertainty, teenagers can be tough to interpret. They are old enough to understand the rules and unfortunately, at the same time, wise enough to outplay them.
And therein describes the scene for digital video advertising. The industry is old enough to warrant a spot at the grown-up table, but too immature to fully embrace the invitation. What's holding us back?
After all, as teenagers, we have grown in delivering reach like our TV parents. We have grown in our ability to value content and demographics, just like TV. Furthermore, we can see the path to success and have established rules and standards to get us there. However, we lack the overall clarity, consistency and certainty that come with age. In our effort to grow-up "big" in terms of amassing reach for marketers, we fall short on execution. And, perhaps most importantly, we have lacked the ability to measure this shortcoming.
We're measuring where we succeed and where we fall short in our growth. Nearly 40% of online video ad impressions fail in terms of execution. Talk about a teenage wasteland. Without controlling the execution, advertisers are unable to prove that their buy had value due to the lack of transparency and clarity required.
So… what does execution really mean?
Broadly speaking, execution must reflect transparency into how and where the ad was delivered within a page. Without the knowledge of where the video ad sits or how it is deployed, a brand advertiser cannot make appropriate decisions on audience delivery. Among the metrics we're tracking: average player size (width/height), iframe size (width/height) and an overall transparency rate.
We are an adolescent industry run by smart adults. We know better. Online video advertising can grow up from these teenager years. The industry can turn its energy and excitement into positive practices. That said, we need to acknowledge and measure our shortcomings, learn from our experiences, and prove that we belong at the grown-up table.