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Why Different Video Ad Channels Require Different Success Metrics

October 16, 2017 | Advertising & Marketing | Video


Tom Alexander
Founder and CEO
PK4 Media

Completion rate is often considered the reigning king of success metrics for video content, but it’s not always the only—or best—way to measure campaign effectiveness. Tom Alexander, founder and CEO of video advertising platform PK4 Media, spoke with eMarketer’s Sean Creamer about why the best metric for measuring success depends on the channel.

eMarketer: Viewers consume video content across an ever-growing number of channels. How do you enable advertisers to scale their video advertising efforts and keep up with consumers?

Tom Alexander: We rely on retargeting as viewers move from channel to channel. For instance, after users have seen our ad in a movie theater, we retarget them with related creative while they’re watching a show on Hulu. Then, when they come to Facebook or another channel where we’ve leveraged paid social advertising, we can retarget them again and say, “Come to this site and make a purchase.” Social is usually the last touchpoint, and it’s the channel that adds scale.

“[Completion rate] helps advertisers determine not only the effectiveness of their campaign, but also the interest level of the viewer.”

eMarketer: What is the most significant metric for measuring video campaign effectiveness?

Alexander: Completion rate is the most common one. It helps advertisers determine not only the effectiveness of their campaign, but also the interest level of the viewer. For instance, by looking at the behavior of viewers who are forced to watch 30 seconds of pre-roll, advertisers can determine how invested they are. Among viewers who aren’t interested, the completion rate will usually be around 50% to 60%.

eMarketer: Does video completion rate matter as much on social platforms?

Alexander: We always try to look at the completion rate, but on Facebook, clickthrough rate matters as well. This is because paid social lends itself to direct-response campaigns and engagements. Usually, consumers are more likely to click on links, so it’s a valuable metric.

The same applies to Instagram, but what we’ve noticed is that beyond completion and clickthrough rate, consumers also use Instagram to engage with brands, especially if there’s a retail component driving consumers to a brand’s site. As a result, Instagram is important for building brand awareness as well.

“Completion rate doesn’t apply to one-to-many platforms, where viewers aren’t able to engage with content.”

eMarketer: Is there a channel for which completion rate isn’t the best way to measure campaign success?

Alexander: Completion rate doesn’t apply to one-to-many platforms, where viewers aren’t able to engage with content. But if they’re on desktop, we employ a technology called TruEngage that allows users to engage with pre-roll ads, or skip them and go directly to the content. Completion rate is only relevant when we’re able to track it and provide that information back to advertisers.

eMarketer: Snapchat is one of the newer avenues for video advertising. Is it an effective platform?

Alexander: Some of our clients have shown interest, but we haven’t stepped into Snapchat yet. Snapchat doesn’t share too much data, which is an issue. Another problem is that on Snapchat, audiences can skip through a brand’s pre-roll or mid-roll campaign pretty quickly. Plus, given the prevalence of other social platforms, most brands want to build those buckets first before they expand to Snapchat. We haven’t seen strong enough demand for it.

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