Video ad impressions on U.S. CTV triple in two years

Wednesday, February 26th, 2020
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Video Ad Impressions on CTV Tripled in Two Years, Reveals Extreme Reach’s AdBridge Report

  • 2019 full year video benchmarks highlight rapid transformation of digital advertising driven by streaming and ad supported video on demand

NEW YORK — In just two years, connected TV (CTV) platforms have reshaped the digital video advertising landscape, according to Extreme Reach (ER), the complete asset management solution for TV and video ads. As revealed in the company’s latest Video Benchmarks Report, 49 percent of all video ad impressions were served to CTV platforms in 2019 – more than triple the 16 percent served in 2017.

Key findings based on aggregate metrics from ER’s AdBridge™ platform include:

  • Premium publishers are still preferred: 81% of all video ads in 2019 were served into premium environments. Advertisers likely want to see and know exactly where their ads will appear, rather than leaving that decision to an algorithm. Extreme Reach continues to serve and measure billions of impressions through DSPs, but the company is seeing far fewer impressions served through that channel versus premium direct.
  • 30-second ads resume the lead: On average, 30-second ads drove 67 percent of all impressions in 2019, with the highest proportion yet recorded by ER, 69 percent, occurring in Q4. This is a reversal of the 2017 average, when “snackable” mobile viewing dominated and 62 percent of impressions were for 15-second spots.
  • The experiment with longer ads has waned: 60-second ads, which had shown a marked increase throughout 2018, perhaps fueled by the unskippable nature of CTV, accounted for less than 1% of ads served in Q4 2019.
  • Media aggregators are shining brightly too, especially in key areas: Though the percentage of impressions served to media aggregators has decreased (from 26% in Q4 2018 to 19% in Q4 2019), ER’s report reveals aggregator strength in a few significant areas. Completion rates, a key performance indicator for advertisers, rose more than 12% — from 73% in Q4 of 2018 to 82% in Q4 2019. It’s a significant jump that bodes well for all parties, as aggregation offers a layer of efficiency and scale for marketers seeking reach and frequency beyond premium direct buys.
  • General invalid traffic levels declined among media aggregators: Levels of GIVT in Q4 2019 declined to about 2%, a significant reduction from Q4 2018, when levels were above 5%. Invalid traffic will continue to threaten the integrity of the digital video ecosystem, notes ER’s report, but there are many levers in place across the ecosystem to filter out invalid impressions and increase buyer confidence and the metrics illustrate the effectiveness of these measures.
  • Direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands and the changing inventory mix: DTC brands are thriving, with rapid growth fueled by the ease with which brands can connect with consumers directly via digital channels. In the year that ER has specifically tracked DTC video ad metrics, brands in the category have doubled ad spend on average, according to Adweek. While these brands overwhelmingly prefer premium media inventory, ER is beginning to see increases in impressions served to media aggregators. In Q1 2019, 99 percent of impressions were served to premium vendors. In Q4 that number decreased to 94 percent.
  • A year of stability: 2019 proved to be just that—steady. For now, at least. Beyond the areas noted above, many metrics remained quite stable throughout 2019 and finished where they started. For instance, the use of 30-second ads, the share of ads served to CTV, average completion rates, average click-through rates and average time spent were all fairly consistent throughout the year.

“It’s amazing that, just two years ago, digital video advertising was all about mobile. Quarter by quarter, we’ve seen the paradigm shift to a new, CTV-centric reality,” said Mary Vestewig, ER’s Senior Director, Video Account Management. “We expect to see fewer wild swings from quarter to quarter for the next year, but we do expect to see interesting trends driven by the growing number of AVOD players and the impact they have on the available inventory mix.”

Extreme Reach’s 2019 Video Benchmark Report is based on the aggregate performance metrics from AdBridge™, which tracks campaigns for a diverse set of brands across multiple categories. The full report, which provides an industry-wide snapshot and identifies trends across performance metrics such as video ad completion and general invalid traffic rates as well as breakdowns by media destination (premium publisher vs. media aggregator) and device (desktop, mobile, tablet and CTV), is available for download.

Links: Extreme Reach