In-Stream Clobbers Other Online Options on Click-Throughs

Last year PointRoll saw a 140% increase in in-stream video campaigns fielded by its clients. When it completed a review of more than a billion ad impressions served for its 2013 Benchmarks Report, released today, it learned why.

Click-throughs for in-stream ads served by the Gannett-owned marketing services company last year were four times higher than for standard display ads, mobile ads, or rich media served with or with or without video. Only 10 to 12 out of a thousand viewers clicked through on ads in those media formats, while 46 did so on in-stream placements made last year by PointRoll clients.

“What you get with in-stream is it takes up a larger slice of the screen. It’s more frequently and prominently in view,” says PointRoll Manager of Analytics Ryan Hurley. “It gives you a longer time to tell a more engaging story. When you think about display, the ad is probably only in front of people for a second or two.”

One big reason for that—at least among ad types serving video—is that 75% of viewers stuck with in-stream videos to the end. Video completion rates for rich media service online and via mobile were only 25% and 31%, respectively, in the PointRoll tally.

Once the click-through occurred, however, in-stream fell down in comparison to other ad types. Viewers spent only about 11 seconds with a brand following a click on an in-stream ad, whereas the average “brand time” was 19 seconds for mobile rich media and 14 seconds for online rich media. What’s more, post-click interaction rates were higher for some display ad types than they were for in-stream video. More than 4% of viewers interacted with brands after clicking through via anchored float ads, and over 3% did so through an expandable ad. The interaction rate for in-stream was 1.3%.

“One of the downsides of in-stream ads is that brands are limited by the format as to how many things they can do to interact with customers,” Hurley says. “When you do rich media, you can serve up games, other videos to watch, forms to fill out. A travel site could provide a photo gallery, a retailer could provide a digital circular.”

While in-stream video shows great promise to digital marketers, it’s widening usage is limited by availability. “It continues to gain adoption, but it’s lagging because of availability. Not every website has video content. You mostly see it on entertainment or news sites,” Hurley says. “For now, demand outstrips supply. We’re finding publishers that are sold out of their inventory for the year.”

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