Uncovering Video Performance Metrics

Accurate digital campaign measurement is still somewhat of a black hole for marketers; there is no single metric which can define success or failure, but as an industry we’ve never had access to this depth of performance indicating data.

Due to the evolution of ad tech and the digital landscape, measuring ad performance is no longer as simple as tracking clicks and conversions. Advertisers are struggling to measure the real value taken from their campaigns despite having access to a huge array of metrics. Performance is measured based on the advertiser’s individual campaign goals, scale, market and chosen ad formats. To help clarify how brands are measuring campaigns, here’s a rundown of contemporary video ad performance indicators and pricing models: The old, the new and the expected.

Impression | An important metric for campaigns since the birth of digital, an impression is fired if the ad is displayed in the video player and complies with the digital measurement guidelines found on the IAB’s site.

Click-Through Rate | A metric used in all clickable ad campaigns (with varying degrees of importance). CTR measures the percentage of users that click on an ad during or after watching a video, usually taking the user through to an advertiser landing or product page. The advantage of CTR is that it’s able to capture an active user’s response, but in turn, could damage any potential long-term impact generated through video completion, a problem when an increasing amount of campaigns focus on brand-based initiatives.

Completion Rates | Measures the percentage of users who watched 100% of the video while it played at normal speed. The problem with completion rates is that the user doesn’t need to be active to gain a video completion.

Percentage Complete | Measures the percentage of a video viewed at normal speed. This is usually, but not always, measured with quartile ‘partial play’ metrics (25%, 50%, 75%).

Time Spent Viewing | The amount of time a user has spent viewing a video at normal speed. This can include additional seconds if there is a rewind event during play.

Brand Health | Metrics covered under brand health include brand and message recall, ad favorability and purchase intent.

Interactive Ad Formats | Many use unique, format specific metrics such as accept invitation rate, user activated control rate, ‘other’ ad interactions and a metric which can capture all other user interactions under one umbrella such as hovers and custom clicks.

Player Operation Metrics | Not always used to measure performance but can be used to note user interaction with the player. These cover audio mute, audio un-mute, pause, rewind, skip, player expand and player collapse.

Cost per Mille | The cost of 1000 ad impressions. CPM remains the standard pricing model for video and is often used to measure performance when compared alongside other metrics.

Viewable Cost per Mille | This pricing model only charges advertisers based on viewable ads served. Its popularity grows thanks to the ongoing list of video ad viewability problems,

Effective Cost per Mille | This measures the price per thousand impressions by dividing the total campaign earnings by the total number of impressions divided by 1000.

Despite the huge amount of information we now have, video is typically used as a way to drive brand awareness, while these metrics give a valuable indicator of performance they can't yet quantify whether an ad influenced a consumer's decision to pick one brand over another from the shelf in say, a supermarket.

Regardless, ad tech and the digital landscape is evolving, bringing new ways for brands to reach the consumer, this leads them to expect different results from their ad spend. New ad formats are being introduced regularly and old formats are being repurposed to bring new results from ad campaigns. Many new ad formats involve some sort of interactivity and demand more advanced performance metrics.

There will be an increase in metrics specific to different ad formats, such as product scrolls and click-induced pauses. Performance metrics will continue to grow in complexity and depth, whether this actually helps advertisers calculate campaign value is a different question altogether.