A new survey commissioned by MGH, an integrated marketing communications agency, found that 32% of survey respondents change the channel as soon as a political advertisement airs and during political news coverage, and nearly half (47%) of viewers will change the channel or mute the TV during a negative political ad.
The Baltimore agency commissioned the survey to find if consumers change their viewing habits during election season.
As usual, the vast majority (88%) of respondents said they are turned off by negative political advertising. But as usual, the negative ads work.
Younger millennials aged 18-24, skewed higher in some measures:
- Forty-five percent change the channel during political news coverage.
- Thirty-nine percent change the channel as soon as they see a political advertisement.
- Twenty percent are more likely to watch programs online, and 19% are more likely to record programs they want to watch to avoid commercials.
"This year's election is gearing up to be a tight race, and with tens of millions of advertising dollars being put toward mudslinging political television ads, marketers need to pay attention to some of these statistics to make sure that their consumers aren't changing the channel on their clients," said MGH President, Andy Malis. "During election years, television advertising space is limited and more expensive, so advertisers need to get creative and integrated with their media campaigns to ensure their message is getting through the clutter."
The key takeaways, according to MGH, are that marketers have the potential to lose more than one-third of their potential audience if a political ad airs – and nearly half if a negative political ad airs – in the same commercial block as theirs. Additionally, marketers that target the younger millennials may have an even tougher time reaching this audience through TV ads.
Still the spending is high, and a report released in March from Borrell Associates forecasts that out of the $9.8 billion that will be spent on political advertising for this year’s election, $5.6 billion will go toward broadcast TV and $939 million toward cable TV advertising. The New York Times estimates that at least $50 million worth of ads will appear in swing states in the next several weeks, about five months out from the election.
Time will tell if these viewers actually do tune out as they claim. Viewership was very strong during the GOP debates. ABC claimed big ratings for its “Your Voice, Your Vote – Republican Presidential Debate in New Hampshire” broadcast. Nielsen tallied 6.25 million viewers, including 1.73 million Adults 25-54 and 1.40 million Adults 18-49. The ABC debate topped the Fox News Channel’s December 15 debate with 1.31 million viewers.
According to January figures from The Pew Research Center for The People & The press, it is true that fewer Americans are closely following the campaign than four years ago. Cable TV leads among sources at 36%, but the Internet is next to last at 25% and has not grown in significance since 2007. So, those younger-skewing voters who claim to get ad-free news online might be exaggerating, or simply disinterested. Just 20% of those younger than 30 claimed to follow the campaign closely, down from 31% in 2008. But because younger voters skew Democrat, they may prick up their ears as the conventions and election near.
Equation Research conducted the survey in April 2012 on behalf of MGH. Equation surveyed 1,000 adults aged 18+ who had seen at least one political advertisement recently, located in states where presidential primaries had taken place.
Ace Metrix, which bills itself as “the new standard in television and video analytics,” has announced the completion of an $8 million round of financing from WPP, Hummer Winblad Venture Partners, Leapfrog Ventures, and Palomar Ventures. Ace Metrix will use the new funds to further accelerate its rapid growth, continue its focus on innovation and product development, and expand into new markets.
The company claims 25% of national television advertisers as clients, and is aggressively pursuing 100% growth through 2012. Just a week ago, Ace Metrix added Samsung to that client roster: Samsung has subscribed to the company’s Ace Metrix LIVE platform, which provides immediate delivery of Ace Scores and the 12,000+ associated data points for every ad in the competitive mobile devices category. Samsung also signed on to use the Ace Metrix PRE service to test ads prior to release, which gives Samsung the ability to adjust creative or media placement using detailed demographic, ethnographic, and psychographic data.
Just two weeks ago, Ace Metrix introduced Ace Metrix TARGET, which allows advertisers to identify specific key audiences and access creative ad performance data for their ads and their competitors. Ace Metrix TARGET adds a layer of granular intelligence to Ace Metrix LIVE. TARGET leverages the same methodology and scoring dimensions of Ace Metrix LIVE, but augments it with specific demographic, ethnographic, and psychographic profiles. As Peter Daboll, CEO of Ace Metrix described, TARGET provides “Exceptional detail and surprising degrees of comparability about how ads perform among critical targets such as technologists, automotive intenders, gamers, and business travelers– for their ads and their competitors’.”
“Ace Metrix continues to impress us with their ability to push the envelope on innovation,” said Pete Sinclair, Managing Director, Leapfrog Ventures, and Managing Director Ann Winblad of Hummer Winblad Venture Partners remarked that “Ace Metrix delivers highly valuable and actionable analytics to the $71B TV advertising sector and the emerging video advertising segment. This is a substantial market opportunity and Ace Metrix has taken the leadership position.”
ur services by many of the most respected brands in the industry – a list that represents the top 25% of national television advertisers," said Peter Daboll, CEO of Ace Metrix. "We are on track to continue our 100% growth rate through 2012 and this new financing will allow us to further extend our portfolio of products and services to key adjacent markets while scaling our business infrastructure and sales and client services teams to meet the demands of our clients.”
“Advertisers in the travel industry need to increase their online footprint in order to keep up with this ever growing audience,” wrote the online ad team at Yahoo! Their 2011 data revealed that travel-related searches begin climbing in May and peak in July, suggesting now is the time to optimize online ad accounts for the season. Yahoo! offers these tips
Yahoo! offered some specific tips from its search-ad experts:
- Ensure your keyword coverage: Analysis of travel keywords used by adCenter advertisers reveals that the highest click-through rates (CTR) are found in longer keyword entries that include the destination and an offer (e.g., "Hawaii all inclusive vacation packages"). Even if the destination was not included, terms like "all inclusive vacation" or "last minute vacation" still have strong CTRs.
- Book Insurance for your Ads: Like travel insurance, a robust list of negative keywords will, for example, prevent your ad from being shown for searches related to cruise ship accidents or other such incidents.
- Know what's popular: Yahoo's Search Query Performance Report shows exactly what queries a Bing or Yahoo! Search user entered in relation to a keyword. The report helps you identify additional keywords to bid on and provides a list of potential negative keywords to exclude unwanted traffic.
- Go Mobile: Analysts estimate that the number of U.S. mobile users booking via mobile will nearly double from 2010 to 2012, from 8.7 million to 15.1 million. Duplicate your search campaigns to target mobile devices, and reach these searchers while they are on the road.
- Plan ahead: In a 2011 survey commissioned by the Mark Travel Corp., 19% of respondents booked trips six or more months in advance, compared with 16% in May 2010. That type of traveler has already made summer plans, but are booking their fall and winter trips now.
Nielsen Company released some intriguing demographic data, from part 2 of its “State of the Media Spring 2012” report—this part presenting an in-depth look at usage by demographic (ethnicity, gender and age).
White TV viewers use their DVRs at twice as much as any other group on a daily basis for time-shifted viewing; yet Asians watch the most timeshifted content as a share of overall TV time.
Among the online destinations for streaming TV content, Hispanics are most likely to watch on Netflix (still no advertising opportunities), where Asians are most likely to watch on Hulu and black viewers on YouTube (both ad friendly).
- Teens used a gaming console for an average of eight minutes during primetime, more than twice as much as the general TV population.
- When watching TV and using their tablet computers simultaneously, male tablet users were more likely to look up information related to a TV program, and females were more likely to up look info related to a TV ad.
- Females spend 61.2% of timeshifted viewing during primetime to watch dramas.
- Females spend 46.9% of real-time viewing watching drama, versus 34.5% for men.
- Females spend 13.5% of their time viewing sports, versus 32.7% for me.
- Online adults aged 25-54 are 23% more likely than the average U.S. Internet user to follow a brand via social networking and 29% more likely to purchase a product online that was featured on TV.
That eight-minute figure for teens and gaming seems low, frankly. Few games can be played in eight minutes. Presumably, that average is dragged down because teens who spend zero minutes on gaming outnumber those who spend hours at a time.
“There is hardly a program or ad on TV these days that doesn’t ask its viewers to like its Facebook page or tweet about it,” opined Frederic Lardinois of TechCrunch. But what do they get out of accepting that invitation? Therein lies the rub, found Accenture.
The industry analyst group surveyed 1,000 U.S. TV viewers, to find that nearly two-thirds (64%) recall seeing social media symbols such as Facebook "Likes" while watching television, and one third (33%) interacted with social media, after seeing a social media symbol on their TV screen.
This is good news for advertisers, believes Robin Murdoch, Accenture’s global Internet segment managing director. "This has huge revenue growth potential as social media applications build program viewer loyalty and drive online advertising opportunities."
That one third who interacted with the symbols while watching TV did so by "liking" the TV program on Facebook (20%), scanning a QR code (11%), searching for the Hashtag on Twitter (7%) or scanning the Shazam symbol (5%).
But what do viewers want out of it?
Obtaining more information about a show, product or service was the greatest motivator for interacting with a social media symbol while watching TV; cited by 43% of the participants who have done so. Other motivations included:
- getting coupons and promotional codes (32%)
- entering a contest/sweepstakes (31%)
- watching another video (26%)
- interacting about the show or product on social media (26%)
- connecting with others with similar interests (21%)
- sharing or recommending video/program to others (20%)
- making a purchase (16%)
To put a pencil to it, of that 33% who interacts, 16% of them makes a purchase - so, just 4.8% of viewers, which is still a good figure. About 10% of viewers overall will go for coupons and promotional codes, or enter to win a contest, so the advertising/marketing/engagement possibilities are strong.
Surprisingly absent from the list is interacting with the show. They appear to enjoy interacting live with questions (e.g. through Twitter to interact with the “Walking Dead” and “Real Housewives” recap shows, voting on “American Idol”). But interaction does not drive viewers to watch lousy TV. The Ford Motor Company-funded unscripted show “Escape Routes” has tanked miserably on NBC on Saturday nights, with ratings shares as low as 0.3. “Escape Routes” is a broadcast/interactive mashup with six teams of two participating in a road-trip competition with real-world challenges, all while driving the new Ford Escape. Viewers can interact real-time with the teams through Google Hangouts, among other social methods; but so far, they haven’t.
Demographics play a role
As expected, the demographic of social-interactive viewers skews young. The majority of participants between the ages of 18 and 24 (63%) said they have interacted with social media symbols while watching TV. For older age groups, the numbers dropped to 46% among 25-34 year olds, 44% among 35-44 year olds, 19% among 45-54 year olds, 24% among 55-64 year olds and 11% of those 65 or older.
Both men and women participants who interacted with social media sites were most interested in getting more information about the show (39% and 48%, respectively). Women were also motivated by getting coupons or promotional codes (40%) and registering or signing up for something (34%). Males were more interested in interacting with social media to watch another video (35%) or entering a contest or sweepstakes (34%).
In terms of engagement, most viewers are just satisfied with what they get out of the social engagement. They are neither thrilled nor displeased. Nearly three-quarters (74%) of those who received content via social media symbols while watching TV (those coupons, recommended videos and so forth) said it just "met expectations," compared with 10% who said the content "did not meet expectations" and 15% who said it "exceeded expectations."
The survey also showed that the greatest barrier to adoption is lack of interest among consumers in the content available through social media interactions. When participants were asked why they had not interacted with social media while watching TV, 60% said they did not think they would be interested in the content they would receive. Fewer participants said they were not sure how to interact with social media symbols (23%); had not downloaded the necessary application for scanning social media symbols on their mobile devices (15%); or, did not have time to scan a social media symbol because it was not displayed long enough on the TV program (11%).
The survey pointed to dramas and comedies as the top genres where consumers would like additional information and interactivity. Asked what type of show they would be interested in interacting with, 35% of participants said dramas and comedies, compared to news programming (31%), sporting events (29%), reality shows (23%), lifestyle/cooking/home shows (20%), game shows (19%), talk shows (16%) and live non-sports events (15%).
"The challenge to providers unlocking this enormous growth is convincing viewers that interacting with TV programming is valuable to them," said Murdoch. "You do that by offering compelling content that enhances the viewing experience coupled with things that extend the value into other areas of their lives. In parallel, you might make social media easier for viewers to use by integrating these capabilities into your existing distribution infrastructure."
Kantar Media has released its final tallies for 2011 ad spending across media, and the results are a mixed bag. They suggest that advertisers value TV, are losing faith in consumer magazines and newspapers (no news there), and are on the fence about digital advertising.
Surprisingly hard hit were Sunday magazines (like Parade, The Boston Globe Magazine and the New York Times Magazine). Presumably this is because print newspaper subscriberships are down, and readers tend to cut out the expensive Sunday editions to save money, before they cancel daily subscriptions.
Big winners: Spanish-language media, and TV syndication.
Spanish-language TV was up 8.3% year-over-year, versus 2.4% for TV overall. Spanish-language magazines were up 24.9% YoY, defying a 0.4% decline for all magazines.Syndicated TV was up 15.4% over that 2.4% for TV overall (due in part to the astounding success of “The Big Bang Theory” which hit syndication in Q3).
The Year Overall
Total advertising expenditures increased an unimpressive 0.8% in 2011 and finished the year at $144.0 billion. Ad spending during the fourth quarter of 2011 dropped 1.0% versus the year ago period, the first quarterly decline since the end of 2009. Since reaching a post-recession peak in Q3 2010, advertising growth rates have slowed sequentially for five consecutive quarters.
“The contrast of resilient TV spending and waning budget allocations to other traditional media was plainly evident at the end of 2011,” said Jon Swallen, SVP Research at Kantar Media Intelligence North America. “Some mature digital media formats were also touched by the year-end tide of reduced spending. Whether this is an isolated occurrence or an early sign of digital dollars moving more quickly towards emerging and unmeasured digital platforms bears watching as 2012 unfolds.”
Measured Ad Spending By Media
Television continued to lead the ad market in the fourth quarter. Network TV expenditures jumped 7.7% year-over-year and were helped by strong pricing for football, a baseball World Series that went the maximum seven games and the launch of “The X Factor” singing competition program. The rate of Cable growth eased during Q4, finishing at +2.4% as higher demand from restaurants and retailers was offset by reductions from consumer packaged goods. For the full year, Network TV decreased by 2.0% while Cable rose 7.7%.
Spanish language TV ad spending surged 19.1% in fourth quarter, paced by higher sell-out levels at over-the-air networks. For all of 2011, the segment increased 8.3%.
Syndication TV benefitted from higher spending by department stores and health & beauty brands and saw expenditures soar 11.0% in Q4. Full year spending advanced by 15.4%.
Spot TV expenditures fell 8.7% in the fourth quarter but the more significant indicator was that November and December spending were each down, despite easy comparisons against diminished, post-election spending volume of a year ago. Full year Spot TV spending dropped 4.5%.
Free Standing Inserts achieved healthy gains in the fourth quarter with spend rising 3.0%. Although manufacturers have been distributing fewer FSI coupons, retailer promotion pages have increased significantly and this contributed to the improvement.
Ad expenditures for measured digital media declined in the fourth quarter. Paid Search budgets were 6.4% lower versus a year ago with continuing reductions from financial, insurance and local service advertisers. Display investments decreased 5.9% in Q4, dragged down by smaller budgets from auto manufacturers, telecom providers and travel companies. For the entire year, Paid Search declined 2.8% and Display increased 5.5%.
Magazine ad spending eroded at year end. Consumer Magazines declined 5.2% in the fourth quarter due to deep cutbacks in auto, food and pharmaceutical advertising. Total year expenditures were level compared to prior year. Outlays in Sunday Magazines fell 9.8% in Q4, the sixth consecutive quarter of year-over-year declines, and were down 7.2% for all of 2011.
Local Newspaper ad expenditures fell 3.9% during the fourth quarter, hurt by the reallocation of retailer advertising budgets to other media channels during the key holiday shopping season. Full year spending was 3.8% lower. The losses in Newspaper spending are consistent with reductions in the amount of space sold.
The pace of spending in Radio media also sagged. Local Radio expenditures were down 3.8% and National Spot Radio plummeted 13.9% in the fourth quarter. The telecom, financial service and automotive categories were prime contributors to these quarterly decreases.
Measured Ad Spending By Advertiser
Spending among the ten largest advertisers in 2011 reached $16,061.6 million, a 2.8% decline compared to a year ago. Among the Top 100 marketers, a diversified group that represents over two-fifths of all measured ad expenditures, full year budgets were down 0.2%.
For the ninth consecutive year, Procter & Gamble was the top advertiser with spending of $2,949.1 million down 5.4% compared to last year. While TV is still the foundation of its advertising media buys, P&G’s 2011 budget allocation saw share gains for magazines at the expense of TV.
AT&T was the second largest advertiser in 2011 with expenditures of $1,924.6 million, a decline of 11.7%. Media budgets were severely curtailed during the fourth quarter when the company abandoned its attempted acquisition of T-Mobile, triggering large breakup fees and a huge earnings loss. At Verizon Communications, full year ad spending was $1,636.9 million, a decrease of 11.8%. After a string of quarterly budget cuts dating to early 2010, Verizon sharply boosted its spending during the last quarter.
The largest growth rate among the Top Ten marketers was posted by Chrysler, up 36.2% to $1,193.0 for the full year. The increase was driven by marketing introductions for several new or redesigned models, coupled with the improved sales climate for new vehicles. In contrast, General Motors lowered its 2011 outlays by 16.1% to $1,784.1 million. Q4 media budgets dropped 24.7%. As factory support has been trimmed, GM dealers have been bearing a larger share of the overall marketing effort.
L’Oreal investments in 2011 rose 18.1% to $1,343.5 million as the company expanded marketing support for the L’Oreal Paris, Maybelline and Garnier brand lines. Comcast (+11.3%, to $1,577.2 million) and Time Warner (+5.8%, to $1,279.4 million) also posted full year spending gains.
Measured Ad Spending By Category
Expenditures for the ten largest categories grew 3.3% in 2011 and reached $81,629.2 million.
Automotive was the leading category in dollar volume and finished 2011 at $13,890.4 million, up 6.3%. Category spending growth became increasingly bifurcated during the year with Tier 2 and Tier 3 dealer budgets continuing to expand and Tier 1 manufacturer expenditures flattening.
Miscellaneous Retail, which is comprised of all retail segments except Department Stores and Home Improvement purveyors, was the second largest category with 2011 expenditures of $10,019.5 million, up 4.0%. Robust ad spending during the critical year-end holiday season bolstered results.
Insurance registered the largest growth rate among the Top Ten categories with a 13.5% gain to $5,519.0 million. Aggressive competition among auto insurers to gain market share continues to drive media budgets higher.
Financial Services totaled $9,059.9 million of spending, a 3.6% increase. Growth has been fueled by the credit card segment, offsetting continued weakness in ad budgets for investment products and retail banking.
The Telecom category lost ground as 2011 expenditures fell 5.8% to $8,649.0 million. Declines were most pronounced among the leading wireless service advertisers. Aggregates expenditures from TV service providers also slowed.
Top Spending Advertisers Within Select Media
The top ten TV advertisers spent $10,115.4 million in the medium during 2011, down 0.8% from a year ago. This group accounted for 14.9% of total TV expenditures by all advertisers.
The ten largest Internet advertisers invested a total of $2,360.6 million in paid search and display campaigns, up 10.0% versus a year ago. Despite fragmentation on the web, the group accounted for 10.9% share of all Internet ad dollars.
The top ten advertisers in Hispanic Media spent $1,403.6 million during 2011, an increase of 29.2%. This group accounted for 24.7% of all Hispanic Media expenditures, the largest Top Ten share concentration of any medium.
Nielsen has released some updated stats and an infographic on African-American consumers and mobile advertising. As of Q4 of 2011, half of black mobile users owned a smartphone (up from 44% in Q4 2010) and 58% accessed the mobile Internet, more than any other race/ethnic group.
Nielsen was updating data from its Sepember, 2011 “State of the African-American Consumer” report, which it compiled in cooperation with the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), a federation of more than 200 Black community newspapers across the U.S. As Nielsen described, “This growing economic potential presents an opportunity for Fortune 500 companies to examine and further understand this important, flourishing market segment.”
“Too often, companies don’t realize the inherent differences of our community, are not aware of the market size impact and have not optimized efforts to develop messages beyond those that coincide with Black History Month,” said Cloves Campbell, chairman, NNPA.
Where to reach them?
Spot and search advertisers will want to concentrate on the eastern seaboard and south/southeast, according to U.S. Census data.
Among other findings by Nielsen and NNPA:
- With a buying power of nearly $1 trillion annually, if African-Americans were a country, they’d be the 16th largest country in the world.
- The number of African-American households earning $75,000 or higher grew by almost 64% between 2000 and 2009, a rate close to 12% greater than the change in the overall population’s.
- African-Americans make more shopping trips than all other groups, but spend less money per trip. African-Americans in higher income brackets also spend 300% more in higher-end retail grocers more than any other high income household.
- There were 23.9 million active African-American Internet users in July 2011 – 76% of whom visited a social networking/blog site.
- African-Americans use more than double the amount of mobile phone voice minutes compared to Whites – 1,298 minutes a month vs. 606.
- The percentage of African-Americans attending college or earning a degree has increased to 44% for men and 53% for women.
- Denny’s Restaurants is targeting younger diners with a YouTube channel and video series, reports the New York Times. The series, “Always Open” features serves films in a youth-sized three-minute chunks, featuring comedian Dave Koechner of “Saturday Night Live” who interviews celebrities as they share a booth at Denny’s. NYT observes a deliberately provocative tone from the family-friendly restaurant, as Koechner makes innuendoes about snuggling for warmth with actress Jessica Biel, and comedian Sarah Silverman makes one of her usual body-function jokes. The ads have taken six million views to date, and were conceived by Gotham and produced by DumbDumb, a production company headed by the actors Jason Bateman and Will Arnett.
- B2B Media Business is accepting nominations for “10 Great Media Websites,” which it will present in its June issue. “We’re seeking nominations in the following categories: tech, trade (nontech), general business, paid subscription, launch, relaunch, portal, video/multimedia, mobile/smartphone and mobile/tablet,” says B2B. Nominees must prove themselves: B2B is looking for proof of “greatness,” including successful new features, redesigns that improve usability, and ideas that have led to greater social interaction among an audience, or between audiences and editors. Deadline for entry is May 1.
- Time Out New York is making a “big leap into the digital world,” reports TechCrunch. Also a rather belated one, for an entertainment outlet that specializes in reviews and arts/entertainment/dining listings. Time Out New York is launching its first iPad app, an updated iPhone app, and a new e-commerce model for its properties. The updated iPad app personalizes the user experience, for example, targeting restaurant recommendations based on previous choices, a la Netflix and Pandora. The personalization is based on technology from LikeCube, a semantic analysis company that Time Out acquired last year. Perhaps more exciting, Time Out New York will be selling tickets to events, as Mashable reports, from its own inventory rather than as an affiliate.
- VideoHub, the end-to-end analytics and monetization platform for online video, has unveiled video ad verification signals to give advertisers insight into the viewability of their ads (e.g., for where they appear on the page, the size of player, the impact on viewer experience).. The new “Player Position” and “Player Size” signals offer advertisers and publishers “full transparency into video ad position and size for video campaigns running across ad networks, direct publishers and video exchanges,” says the company. Player Position and Size go beyond basic verification metrics by showing advertisers how many video ad impressions are 100-percent viewable, partially viewable, or non viewable. VideoHub promises clients they can also measure viewability alongside brand lift, engagement, and other KPIs, showing the relationship between the viewing environment and campaign results. These new features, following the platform-wide integration of Nielsen GRP reporting, help VideoHub marry verification, reach and ad performance, providing advertisers “a level of measurement and understanding that is unavailable anywhere else,” says the company.
eMarketer and video ad network YuMe report a nearly three-to-one bias toward women in gender-targeted video advertising.
According to YuMe, the majority (65.9%) of video ad campaign proposal received by publishers in 2011 were gender-agnostic, but 25.7% targeted women, and 8.4% targeted men.
Not surprising, considering that consumer package goods (CPG) companies (which commonly target health and beauty products at women) were the single largest spender of ad dollars for online video in 2011, at 24%.
Age-wise, online video ads most often targeted at consumers aged 25 to 54: 39% of US advertisers targeted females in this age range and 22% targeted males. Few advertisers ventured outside of that spectrum. Video advertisers are targeting parents and professionals, who eMarketer estimates account for 51.1% of all U.S. online video viewers in 2012, most strongly (19.2%) of those viewers in the 25-to-34 age range.
But advertisers will not ignore those other demographics. YuMe found 73% of all U.S. pre-roll video ads seen by viewers ages 12 to 24 were watched in full last year, compared to 68% of all ads watched by those ages 25 to 54. Pre-roll ads offer the greatest guarantee of full viewership, considering they are often mandatory precursors to watching online video. About 78% of viewers will watch an interactive in-stream video like a pre-roll to completion, versus about 39% for an in-banner video, reports video ad network PointRoll, making in-stream video the most attractive option for advertisers.
The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) has released the first comprehensive update to its in-stream video advertising standards since 2008. Its “IAB Video Suite” of new and updated specifications is designed to deliver a variety of enhanced video advertising experiences while simplifying technical execution, said IAB in a release.
The upshot is standardization, reports Adweek. “The problem has become acute for Web video,” it said. And as video is consumed in more places on the Web, “it's that much harder to buy—since every publisher seems to use different technology and different tactics for delivering Web video ads.” A benefit to consumers, if not advertisers, is that the suite includes protocols for skippable ads. Or as Adweek describes, “You won’t see that beer ad 10 times in a row.”
IAB spent more than a year crafting the suite in an open forum with leaders from over 45 member companies in IAB’s Digital Video Committee. The new specs include critical updates to its key specs – VAST and VPAID – and the establishment of a new protocol, VMAP.
The suite’s three specs are devised to work together as part of a thorough video advertising offering:
- Video Ad-Serving Template (VAST) – a universal protocol for serving in-stream video ads, permitting ad servers to use a single ad response format across multiple compliant publishers/video players
- Video Player-Ad Interface Definition (VPAID) – a common communication protocol between ad units and video players that enables rich ad experiences and detailed event reporting back to advertisers
- Video Multiple Ad Playlist (VMAP) – a new protocol that allows content owners to describe where ad breaks should be placed in their content when they do not control the video player or the content distribution outlet
- “These specs help creativity flourish by making it easier for companies to buy and sell video ad inventory while allowing marketers to deliver in-stream interactive video ads with the confidence that consumers will always receive a consistent viewing experience across different media players,” said Steve Sullivan, Vice President, Ad Technology, IAB.
VAST 3.0, VPAID 2.0, and VMAP 1.0 offer a range of benefits to advertisers, publishers, and consumers. Advancements include:
- Support for “skippable” video ads that allow for publisher pricing models based on ads that play to completion
- Support for “pods” of multiple ads to be displayed in a single ad break, allowing for the creation of viewing experiences similar to broadcast television
- Support for the display of in-ad privacy notices recommended by the Digital Advertising Alliance Self-Regulation Program for Online Behavioral Advertising
- Ability for a single ad to play seamlessly across different devices including iOS and Android mobile devices, as well as certain connected television platforms
- Clarity surrounding compliance, while permitting vendors to support only the ad formats they use
Google for one is delighted with the updates, saying on its DoubleClick blog “We’ve been longtime supporters of video advertising standards. We’re happy to announce our support for the latest set of guidelines announced at the IAB’s Digital Video Marketplace Event today. This means that we’ll be implementing VAST 3.0, VPAID 2.0 and VMAP 1.0 across our video advertising products.”
So is Adap.tv, and its Vice President of Product Ted Grenager served as co-chair of the IAB Digital Video Committee Technical Standards Working Group. “All of us on the Working Group collaborated closely with the IAB team with one goal in mind–the expansion of the digital video advertising marketplace. Now, with these new specs in place, I think we will increasingly see advertisers using them to create innovative new ad experiences for consumers, and distribute and measure them across partners and devices.”
If skippable ads seem like a downer for advertisers, Payam Shodjai, product manager of Google/YouTube believes it will “[incentivize] creative agencies to develop more engaging ads.”