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Rethinking ad spend: The science supports premium digital video

April 22, 2022 | By Mark Lollback, Global Chief Strategy and Growth Officer – Oovvuu @Oovvuu

Just a few weeks ago, Think Premium Digital in Australia launched part three of their research into the effectiveness and competitiveness of premium digital video. As the ex-CMO and ex-CEO of GroupM, I love to see the investment in quality research to help lift the performance of marketing and challenging out of date thinking.

This latest report, called “Not all time spent is equal,” looks at time spent on a platform vs. the advertising attention on that platform. The research shows that time spent on a media platform is not the same as time spent consuming advertising. Publisher premium digital video performed the best in terms of ad exposure and ad attention – beating out YouTube and social platforms.

The research also found that just because consumers are spending hours and hours on a media platform doesn’t automatically qualify it as a great place to advertise to them. The study highlights that ad attention (the time that eyes were on the ad), rather than time spent, should play a more important role in media channel selection. Time spent on a platform is not a suitable proxy for advertising effectiveness and should challenge agency planners to think differently about digital planning.

The new way to choose marketing channels

The obvious question becomes, if time spent is no longer the driving forced behind where advertisers should spend their money, what factors should they take into consideration. Here are three important factors to understand before making a channel choice:

  • Time spent on platform – Total time spent converts to 10.2% ad exposure for premium video compared to 4.5% for YouTube and 0.7% for Social Video.
  • Ad exposure opportunity – Ad exposure for premium video is 2.2X more than YouTube and 16X more than Facebook in an average hour. 
  • Ad attention is what drives engagement and behavior change – An hour on premium video generates 5 mins of ad attention; 2.6X more than YouTube and 25X more than social video.

Notice time spent is still a consideration – but only part of the equation.

Why attention matters

“Attention” is getting a lot of attention in marketing, advertising and agency discussions – as it should. The pressure on marketing dollars to truly deliver impact and business results has never been higher and selecting the right channel and environment is critical. This is an area where multiple research studies have shown that premium digital video on premium publisher’s sites deliver best in class results.

If the publishing industry ever wanted insights and results to help drive transformation of their video offerings to be a perfect match for advertiser needs, these are those insights. Building premium digital inventory should be every publisher’s priority. Premium video refers to short- and long-form video housed in the digital environments of known and trusted media brands that are brand-safe and offer meaningful scale.

Dr. Duane Varan, CEO of MediaScience, said about this latest piece of research, “Here, we’re looking specifically at these video ads appearing and trying to understand those differences. Similar research needs to be done across 100 other variables. But attention is a good starting point, because if you don’t have attention, you don’t have anything else. Attention is the start of the conversation.”

Dr. Varan added, “As we’ve consistently demonstrated, environments matter. The case for premium video continues to strengthen with this research showing its ability to deliver ad exposure and even more importantly, advertising attention.”

Rethinking your media strategy

Venessa Hunt, General Manager of Think Premium Digital in Australia, wasn’t surprised by the findings given consumption behavior. Where the disconnect comes from is that people aren’t looking at the full picture in the planning processes, she said. 

“It’s often frustrated me when we talk about time on reach and exposure to advertising, because they are such different things. If a client is paying for time on a platform, or the ability for time on the platform, it doesn’t potentially benefit the brand. But if the ad isn’t even there, you’re using the wrong data to start that planning process.”

Hunt expected this kind of exposure and attention would become a factor in industry decision making, though she admitted the industry isn’t there yet. Measuring attention is problematic and variable.

“For now, though, we have to start changing the conversation around the planning,” Hunt said. “Why are we spending so much on this platform over another? We’re using time spent as the justification, and the fact everyone is there and there a lot. Sure they are, but there are no ads. Changing the mindset around planning ad exposure and ad attention as opposed to platform exposure and attention is key.”

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