Video Ad Engagement Benchmarks in 2018

March 8, 2019

Video ad completion and viewability rates continue to improve even as click-through rates continue in their decline, while connected TV is the device to watch, according to the latest benchmarking data from Extreme Reach.

Video Completion Rates

Video completion rates (VCR) continued their ascent last year, per Extreme Reach’s figures. Indeed, last year video ads were viewed to completion 83% of the time. This is up from 70% in 2017 and 65% in 2016.

A consistent picture also emerges on completion rates – longer formats have higher rates. For 6-second ads (a new data point for 2018), 79% were completed, compared to 80% for 15-second ads (up from 72% in 2017) and 86% for 30-second ads (up from 75%).

Connected TV (CTV) continues to have the highest VCR of all device types. With a consistent rate of about 95% throughout 2018, CTV stands apart from all other devices. However tablets are closing the gap, having risen from a viewable completion rate of 68% in 2017 to 83% this past year.

Click-Through Rates

Click-through rates (CTRs) have continued an overall pattern of decline, now having dropped for each of the past three years. According to the report, part of the reason for this is the rise in CTV viewing: because those watching cannot typically click on the ad while watching on a television set, this impacts the overall figures.

That being said, CTR for the 15-second format is up to 0.30% (from 0.25% in 2017), but the comparable rate for 30-second ads has fallen dramatically to 0.17% (from 0.40% in 2017).

In a similar picture to last year, media aggregators (0.46%) have a significantly higher CTR than premium media vendors (0.12%). When sorting by device, the data shows that desktop ad CTRs have fallen to 0.27% (from 0.42% in 2017), while tablet CTRs have headed in the opposite direction (0.46% in 2018, up from 0.25% in 2017).

Invalid Traffic Rate

Good news again on the invalid traffic rate for 2018. From 2017 full year’s rate of 6.2%, 2018 was a welcome drop, with this figure down to 3.97%. Compared with 2015’s average of 13.1%, this represents a significant improvement over time.

Extreme Reach also reports that the invalid traffic rate among aggregators is in a three-year trend of decline, with a 37% decrease between the full year 2017 and full year 2018.

CTV Takes the Lead Over Mobile

While 2017 saw mobile take over from desktop as the device with the most impressions, 2018 seems to be the year of CTV, as connected TV devices has taken the lead to become the key device for overall impressions – with 38% of the impressions in 2018, compared to 30% for mobile and 21% for desktop. Tablet share has almost halved from 15% in 2017 to 8% in 2018.

Viewability Rates

Viewability rates continue to improve. The average video ad viewability rate for 2018 was 67%, up from 60% in 2017 and 54% in 2016. This is using the benchmark of a minimum of 50% in-view for a minimum of 2 consecutive seconds.

Viewability was up across media types and ad lengths but continued to be higher for Premium Media Vendors (81%) and for 30-second ads (76%).

Finally the average viewable completion rate (the percentage of impressions that were viewable and played all the way through) rose once again, to 77%. That marks a 10% year-over-year rise and a significant jump from 2015 (47%). (Viewable Completion Rate is a subset of Viewability, meaning that it measures the percentage of viewable ads that were watched to completion.)

The viewable completion rate for 30-second ads saw a considerable improvement (from 67% to 79%) in the process exceeding the comparable rate for 15-second ads (76%).

The full results are available to view here.

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