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Longer Online Videos See More Ads, Higher Completion Rates

Ads in videos 20 minutes or longer have a completion rate of more than nine in 10

February 19, 2013

The appetite for online video among US viewers appears far from satiated. According to research from video monetization firm FreeWheel, total video views among internet users in the US were up 23% year over year in Q4 2012. That growth has paralleled an increase in video ad volume, which grew 47% over the same time period, according to FreeWheel. (FreeWheel’s data covers only rights-managed videos, and does not include user-generated content.)

Advertisers seem inclined to pack their ads into longer videos, which are ably bearing the increased load. In Q4 2012, long-form videos—defined as those at least 20 minutes in length—loaded an average of 9.4 video ads, the most in any quarter over the past four years. Advertising dropped sharply to an average of 1.3 ads per video in mid-form content (five to 20 minutes in length). And short-form videos, which are less than five minutes long, averaged only .66 ads per video.

Digital Video Ads per Video Viewed Among US-Based Audiences, by Content Length, Q4 2011-Q4 2012

In a sign that viewers are not being turned off by the increased ad volume, ad completion rates were highest for long videos in Q4 2012 at 93%, compared with 81% for mid-form videos and 68% for short-form videos. All three video categories also had higher completion rates in the last quarter of 2012 when compared to the previous one, suggesting that advertisers are fine-tuning their video strategy and convincing viewers to watch ad content from start to finish.

Completion Rate for Digital Video Ads Among US-Based Audiences, by Content Length, Q4 2011-Q4 2012

The trend toward more ads in rights-managed online videos, along with higher ad completion rates, indicates that consumers are also adjusting their expectations for free online content and accepting the presence of advertising.

But pre-roll and in-stream video advertising is only part of the story. As companies increasingly focus on content marketing techniques, owned media channels are providing a separate means for brands to connect with their target audiences via video. A December survey of US media agencies conducted by native advertising platform Sharethrough found that 72.4% of respondents had used an owned media channel to post brand video as part of their media distribution strategy.

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Check out today’s other articles, “In 2013, Mobile, Social Lead Shift From Traditional Media to Digital” and “Online Banking in the UK Trumps In-Person, with More Users, More Often.”


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