A revolution is beginning to take shape in online video as viewer-initiated video ads are proliferating across the Web. The currency is slowly changing from impressions to views as pre-rolls allow viewers choose which ad to watch and in-banner video ads require a viewer initiated click-to-play. Google’s latest foray into the medium is TrueView, an in-stream video format on YouTube that actually lets viewers skip an ad, while only charging for actual video views.
As the landscape changes, TubeMogul and Google have jointly proposed a new, standardized metric for pricing and serving video ads to the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s Digital Video Committee: “Cost Per View”. The CPV framework would distinguish videos ads that viewers choose to watch ("views") from ads that automatically load in a video player ("impressions"). This emphasis on "views" is more powerful and a better indicator of viewer engagement.
For e.g., a "view" would be counted for video ads watched through pre-roll ad selectors, completed pre-rolls that offered the viewer an option to "skip," or in-banner video ads that users click to watch. An "impression" would be logged for all other video ads.
Why define it this way? Viewer intention to watch an ad is widely seen as a proxy for whether a brand message is being delivered and consumed. In the next year, Kantar Media will release joint research with us analyzing specific benefits in detail. Early numbers from YouTube's TrueView in-stream ads -- which let viewers choose whether to watch an ad and only charge an advertiser if a viewer completes the ad -- are promising, with 20%-70% choosing to watch an ad. Still more research by Vivaki on Hulu's pre-roll ad selector also demonstrates the value in measuring user-initiated views.
Formalizing CPV at the ad server level would also bring clarity to advertisers that’re currently buying both user-initiated and auto-initiated video with no ability to distinguish between the two since impression tags are used for both. More broadly, the proposal would likely broaden interest in video for advertisers of all types and sizes since marketers know more about what they are buying.
This proposal doesn’t argue that all placements are created equal, or that viewer-initiated views are inherently more valuable.