Last month, direct-to-home (DTH) player Tata Sky made the television set mobile, quite literally, with the launch of Everywhere TV. Subscribers can, at a monthly fee, now access 50 television channels via an application, downloadable on the mobile handset. This launch, combined with other similar ‘mobile tv‘ applications available today, is indicative of a definite shift in video content consumption pattern. An increasing number of consumers are looking at their second screens – mobile phones, tablets, laptops, desktops – for video consumption.
Take a look at the numbers: according to ComScore’s video metrix report, released in May this year, online video consumption has doubled in India over the past two years. The number of videos viewed per month has gone from 1.8 billion in March 2011 to 3.7 billion in March this year. The total online video audience in India has grown 74 per cent to 54 million viewers over the period, with the average viewer watching 18 per cent more videos and spending 28 per cent more time viewing.
Quite naturally then, advertisers have taken note of this shift in the consumption landscape and followed the viewer into this new device. The only problem: while traditional television offered a way to gauge reach and popularity – through the much disputed rating point system – there is no such yardstick available in the online video world. Sure, you can see the number of views a video has attracted. But what’s the assurance that the video with a million hits will generate a million – or less – customers? In the amorphous world of the internet, there is a huge bank of content to choose from, which also makes the job of identifying the right content much more difficult.
Let us assume though, that by some stroke of luck, you have managed to identify the video guaranteed to attract eyeballs for a long time. You need to now identify the best way possible to place your advertisement within the content where it drives your objective, be it to up the brand awareness or brand loyalty or create engagement. A recent study by Akamai Technologies, a US-based internet content delivery network, titled ‘Understanding the Effectiveness of Video Ads: A Measurement Study’, aims to address such questions about the most accurate, definitive way of measuring the online advertisements’ impact.
The first question is that of placement. What ‘spot’ should you pick? The ‘spots’ in question for online videos are categorised as pre-roll (before the video begins), mid-roll (in-between the video) and post-roll (after the video is done). The study’s finding that mid-roll spots work the best, enjoying the highest completion rate of 97 per cent, is not very surprising. This explains why mid-roll advertisements rarely come with the skip-ad option. Pre-roll follows in second place, scoring over post-roll with a completion rate of 74 per cent as compared to latter’s 45 per cent. There is really very little incentive for the viewer to watch the advertisement completely post completion of the video, after all.
Apart from the placement, the advertisement’s duration and the time of the day when it is being viewed also influence the completion rates. A longer duration commercial (like 30 seconds to a minute long) would mean definite abandonment. Similarly, if the video is being viewed in the evening or on a holiday, the viewer is presumably in a relaxed frame of mind, clocking a spike in completion rates.
Many of these insights are culled out through the tonnes of data generated by the viewer’s online behaviour. Some of it is intuitive, possibly the researchers’ personal experiences as viewers acting as the guiding lights. However, even if you choose to rely on the numbers, the question persists: does a high completion rate automatically translate into the brand’s objectives being met, considering the ease with which viewers can switch windows and simply wait out the advertisement’s runtime?
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