Online Video Ad Verification: Does it Answer Brand Advertisers Nagging Questions?

Originally published on Technorati as: Online Video Ad Verification: Does it Answer Brand Advertisers Nagging Questions

cat chasing laser imageIt seems the hype surrounding the rise of online video and web TV is much bigger than the actual advertising dollars behind it. Perhaps it’s because brands can’t, in good conscience, throw an ad budget at endless videos of cats chasing laser pointers. This lack of actual premium content brands want to advertise around, is also the reason that broadcast content commands CPM’s from $21 – $30 and user generated content runs from $0 – $5 per thousand impressions, according to a “state of the industry” report put out by Digiday and Adap.tv.

There seems to be an enormous amount of video content added every day to YouTube though, one hour every minute according to the site, and it’s not all cats chasing stuff and doing tricks; so what about that stuff? The type of content pure online video play Revision3 creates, and Discovery Communications, parent company of the Discovery Channel, thought was worth the reported $30mil that they paid for it.

In the past month alone the two biggest players in video ad technology, BrightRoll and Tremor Video have both announced verification tools to help brands ensure that their ads are placed where they are supposed to. There is a great piece on Digiday that goes over the numerous tactics that unscrupulous publishers use to artificially manipulate online video ad views, and what these verification technologies are supposed to protect against. It’s a lot similar to what ‘click-fraud’ was to the pay-per-click industry. According to the Brightroll announcement, three new tools, inventory planner, video rank targeting and BrandWatch will be integrated into the company’s exchange to help advertisers better understand their digital video campaigns. Also, VideoHub, which is the enterprise division of Tremor Video, announced tools to verify the viewability of their ads including player size and position to signal to advertisers if a video ad is viewable, unviewable or partially viewable.

But how well do these tools work? How comfortable will advertisers feel with just knowing that a particular ad is ‘partially viewable’? According to an article about web video & verification in Digiday, author Mike Shields states, “And to hear most folks in the industry tell it, verification technologies, which have become a standard precaution for display advertisers, don’t cut it when it comes to video”. What he is talking about was also echoed by Adxpose CEO Kirby Winfield, “it’s largely correct in asserting that traditional display ad verification does have a low success rate in typical video ad serving.”

This is where ClearStream comes in, a 10-month old startup that looks to provide better ways to measure ROI, assess video impact, target consumers and generally make online video advertising, “way more transparent” according to the announcement. When asked what would work for video, Winfield states, “What does work for video is customized, network ad server-specific verification, where the verifier integrates directly with the video ad serving solution used by the network.” The solution from ClearStream, called Clearview, uses a combination of in-stream video scanning with object recognition, detailed video output characteristics and unlike competing services, the ability to scan and score inside and outside the video player, rather than just pulling information from surrounding pages. It also provides a frame-by-frame of the original video for the advertiser, something that no other service yet provides.

Whether Clearview will help brands pinpoint and deliver on this promise has yet to be seen, but if they can deliver on this promise it will go a long way in easing the mind of the P&G, Johnson & Johnson’s of the world when it comes to paying for video ad units, and feeling secure that they’re showing up on quality, compelling content in a way that isn’t disruptive for viewers. As of now, according to a Digiday story, the jury is still out; with one advertiser and one agency on board testing the product and plans to roll out the product to the rest of the industry in the next few months.

About Geoff Simon

Geoff is owner/operator of Simon Search Marketing. He graduated cum laude with a B.S. in Business Administration from California State Polytechnic University in 2003. Geoff immediately secured employment as an account coordinator with Grey Direct West, (now G2 Direct & Digital) working for Bank of Americas online banking division. From there Geoff has worked in a search marketing capacity for companies including Intermark Group, Disney Interactive Media Group, and Toyota Dealers Association. During his time Geoff has worked on brands including Disney Family, Toyota, Lexus, National Geographic, Red Bull USA Events, That '70s Show and Carsey Werner.
Geoff likes ice-hockey, is a Chicago native and proud dad to his almost 1-year old son Cyrus.
Find Geoff on Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn, or follow his Twitter handle @geoff_simon

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