Americans Are Watching More Online Video Ads Than Ever Before

July 18, 2013

This article is included in these additional categories:

Digital | Paid Search

comScore-Online-Video-Ad-Views-June2013Americans’ consumption of online video ads has been on a record-breaking tear over the past couple of months, per comScore Video Metrix data. In June, online video ad views reached a new peak of 20.1 billion, a dramatic 27% jump from the previous high of 15.8 billion just a month earlier, and making April’s record of 13.3 billion views seem like a distant memory. So what’s fueling all these extra ad views? Surprisingly, online video ad reach has grown only incrementally. Instead, the growth in views is almost all the result of a big increase in the number of ads each viewer is seeing.

comScore-Reach-Frequency-Online-Video-Ads-Jan-Jun-2013-July2013During the month, online video ad frequency reached a new high of 121.1, meaning that each online video ad viewer watched 121 ads during the month. That represents an increase in frequency of more than 25% from May’s 96.5. Video ad frequency has grown every month this year, to the extent that June’s figure was more than double January’s (58.4).

As noted above, online video ad reach is growing much more slowly than frequency. In June, 53.6% of Americans watched video ads, up slightly from 53.1% in May and 50.5% at the start of the year.

All of this comes at a time when various reports indicate that advertisers are moving funds from TV to online video (see here, here and here), with spending on online video advertising growing by almost 30% year-over-year in 2012.

So who’s serving up all these ads? Google Sites consistently sit atop the online video ad property rankings, and June was no different, as Google surpassed the 3 billion ad threshold (the first time that’s been done) to reach almost 3.3 billion impressions. Next on the list, LIVERAIL.COM (2.4 billion), followed by BrightRoll (2.4 billion), and ADAP.TV (2.2 billion). In total, 7 properties served more than 1 billion video ads.

Total time spent viewing those ads was 1.2 billion minutes, with Hulu delivering the highest frequency to its viewers, with an average of 73. For the month, video ads accounted for 31% of all videos viewed (up from 27.9% in May) and 3% of all minutes spent watching video online (up from 2.6%).

Those are all heady numbers, to be sure. Want a spanner in the works? Here’s a potential one: according to Vindico president Matt Timothy (as reported by, as many as 30-40% of video ad impressions are “fraud.” More on that surely to come. (Even if fraud does nullify a proportion of views, it’s unlikely that it’s responsible for the recent spike in video ad views.)

Turning to online video views as a whole (not just ads), comScore’s data indicates that 85.2% of online Americans watched video in June, with the total number of videos viewed climbing from 41 billion in May to 44 billion in June. The duration of the average content video was 5.3 minutes (down from 5.6), with the average online video ad lasting 24 seconds, unchanged from May.

Google Sites, driven primarily by video viewing at, remained the top online video content property with 158.3 unique viewers, up from 154.5 million in May. Facebook was next with 61.6 million (up from 60.4 million), while AOL remained in the 3rd spot despite its audience figures dropping from 53.8 million to 51 million. VEVO (49.3 million) and Microsoft Sites (46.8 million) rounded out the top 5.

Other Findings:

  • Google Sites generated the largest volume of video views (15.7 billion, from 14 billion), while Facebook finished with almost 730 million.
  • Google Sites also generated the highest engagement, at an average of 500 minutes per viewer during the month. Among the top 10 properties, NDN was next at just 86.6 minutes per viewer.
  • VEVO retained its top spot in the YouTube partner rankings, followed by FullScreen and Maker Studios.
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