Online Video Ad Completion Rates Said More Important Than CTR

April 13, 2012

vindico-online-video-brand-page-interest-april2012.jpgUsers who watch an online video ad show greater interest in brand pages than those who arrive at the page by click, making completion rates a better success metric than click-through rates (CTR), says Vindico [pdf] in an April 2012 report. Based on an analysis of 30 billion video ad impressions it served in 2011, the company found that of viewers who navigated past the brands’ landing pages, 96% had previously completed the brands’ video ads without clicking, compared to just 4% who had clicked on the ads. And of those navigating to a checkout page, 98% had completed the brands’ video ads without clicking. This is despite the proportion of viewers who arrived at the landing page being relatively evenly split between both groups.

Completion Rates Better in Long-Form Content

Advertisers looking to capitalize on this finding may want to consider placing their ads during long form content (typically lasting longer than 10 minutes). Ads placed during long-form content had an 88% completion rate, 16% higher than the 76% completion rate for ads placed during short-form content (videos lasting less than 10 minutes).

The high completion rate for ads served during long-form content might be a reflection of viewers’ propensity to complete these longer videos. According to February 2012 results from Freewheel, completion rates for videos longer than 20 minutes rose to 88% from 82% in Q3, despite a rise in the number of ads placed in this content, from 5.02 to 6.92.

Mid-Roll, 15-Second Ads Have Best Completion Rates

Meanwhile, data from Vindico’s “Year in Review” insights report indicates that mid-roll ads had the best completion rate of all ad positions in 2011, at 94%, outpacing pre-roll (71%), post-roll (58%), and in-banner (26%) ads. Completion rates generally declined the lengthier the ad: 0-15 second ads had the highest completion rates, at 78%, ahead of 16-30 second ads (74%), 31-60 second ads (61%), and ads longer than 1 minute (54%).

Overall, 96% of the ads delivered were either 15-second (47%) or 30-second (49%) ads.

Other Findings:

  • From 2010 to 2011, Vindico saw a 92% increase in ad served impressions, with these making up roughly half of total impressions delivered in 2011, up from 9% in 2010.
  • In 2011, all but 2% of video ads were re-purposed TV creative, up from 90% a year earlier.
  • Completion rates were highest for FEP (90%) and video portal sites (84%), followed by portal (72%), business/news (71%), lifestyle (69%), and ad network (63%) sites.
  • Mid-roll ad completion rates were higher than all others on all site types, but were particularly dominant in the lifestyle category (96%).
  • Given the choice to skip, 31% of viewers chose to watch a video ad. Vindico insight suggests that this is likely because viewers had already seen the ad, given that 98% were re-purposed TV creative.
  • Ad networks had the highest average daily frequency (2.35), followed by FEP (2) and lifestyle (1.91).
  • CTR was higher for ads placed in short-form content (1.31%) than for those in long-form content (0.83%). Video portals had the highest CTR, at 3.48%, ahead of business/news sites (1.41%).
  • Mobile video ads (4.15%) had a higher CTR than interactive video (2.29%) and TV creative (0.85%) ads.
  • CTR was highest for post-roll ads, indicating that viewers are trying to exit the ad when their video content is over. Similarly, the higher CTR for ads longer than 1 minute, when compared to other lengths, is attributed by Vindico to viewer attempts to close out the ad.
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