Digital video continues to grow as a powerful medium for advertisers big and small. With the rise of OTT platforms and growing ubiquity of “cord-cutting” and “cord-shaving,” we’ll continue to see more advertisers shifting dollars from Broadcast to digital formats on both national and local fronts. This shift presents an educational challenge for agency trading desks and legacy broadcast sellers to teach their advertisers how to understand performance outside of the traditional lines of GRPs and TRPs. Our team is at the front line of these conversations daily helping advertisers understand the significance of VCR. Here are some key points to consider when planning and measuring your next digital video campaign:
Did somebody say VCR?!
No, we’re not talking about that dusty dinosaur that you feed VHS tapes into after snagging the last copy of new release from Blockbuster (don’t forget to rewind!). VCR, or Video Completion Rate, is a measurement of the rate at which your digital video impressions play to 100%. Simply put, it’s square one for understanding the efficiency and effectiveness of your video campaign. High VCRs result in more time spent with your message and a lower cost-per-view, while low VCRs indicate room for improvement.
How can I set myself up for VCR success?
Glad you asked, because there are a bunch of things you can do!
First, understand your platform and device. CTV devices typically drive the highest completion rates (90%+), followed by Desktop (65%+), and finally Mobile (50%+)*. Choosing to run on devices or platforms with naturally high completion rates – like CTVs and OTT – may be more expensive compared to Desktop/Mobile, but the overall completion efficiency can be substantially superior.
Next, let’s talk about creative. Attention spans are shrinking and co-viewing (interacting with multiple devices simultaneously) is on the rise. That means advertisers need to get their message across quicker than ever before. We see the best completion performance with :6 and :15 second creatives, and recommend front-loading your message to grab the viewer’s attention. 30-second creatives are great for Broadcast, but they don’t translate well into a digital environment, so we’d recommend avoiding them when possible.
Finally, we need to understand what kind of inventory we’re evaluating. Non-skippable In-Stream video inventory naturally drives higher completion rates than out-stream or in-banner video, so make sure you know what you’re buying. (All of Liquidus Advanced TV and In-Stream in non-skippable.) Keep in mind that even if the inventory is non-skippable, that doesn’t guarantee a completion. Users can choose to abandon the content, click-through, or the ad can fail to load fully… all of which can result in less than a 100% completion.
What about clicks?
Clicks are video advertising’s worst enemy! Here’s why:
- We know that the majority of clicks, especially on mobile, are accidental!** That means they likely result in frustration instead of a conversion or on-site action.
- When a user clicks on your video, it interrupts the stream, preventing the ad impression from completing at 100% and thus hurting your VCR.
- Most importantly, your ad is already an “interruption” to the user’s browsing experience. Expecting the user to abandon the show or clip they’re trying to watch is lofty demand. You’re better off trying to keep them engaged with your brand for the 6-15 seconds of content in your ad.
What should I be measuring instead of clicks?
While VCR is a great starting point, there are a handful of other ways we can measure video advertising success instead of clicks. We recommend:
View-Through Conversion tracking allows us to track a user following their exposure to a video ad impression to determine if they take a future action on your website. It’s a great way to measure the success of your video impression because it assumes that the user is completing the spot at 100% (driving up your VCR), spending time with your message, and then being driven to act on your site without a direct interruption to their browsing experience.
For the more sophisticated advertiser, we also recommend evaluating Video Viewability. This measures an impression’s opportunity to be viewed on a screen. Video Viewability is generally high since the average video player takes up all or most of the screen, but it’s still worth monitoring. The higher the in-view rate, the more quality time spent with your brand’s message.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in January 2016 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.