Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What Counts as a Video View? - Online Video Conversations: David Burch, Tubemogul - Part 2

So, what constitutes a video view? Is it considered a view just when the stream is called up and served to the viewer, even though only a portion of the video is viewed? Does the entire video need to be viewed to be counted? After several years of inconsistencies, the online video industry has not yet adopted a standard definition for a view. So to get some insight on this subject I spoke with David Burch, Director of Marketing at TubeMogul, Inc. According to Burch, while the industry standard is to count a view once someone clicks play and the streams starts, there still is a lot of misconception among media buyers on constitutes a view.

Burch says the technology is definitely there and Tubemogul has been putting out benchmark data on video completion rates for some time. Back in 2008, Tubemogul put together a study on What Counts as a View? which identified the differences in view counting among popular video sites. Most of the sites counted any interaction with the video player (full view, 1/2 view, refresh, embed, embedded autoplay) a view and as the report states, "The implications are relevant for video advertisers, content publishers, and those that might seek to artificially inflate the popularity of a given video."

Jim Louderback
Jim Louberback, CEO of Revision3 Internet Television, has been very outspoken on the need for standardization and has railed against the industry practice of counting an autoplay-start, as a video view and the growing prevalence of "stream fraud". He cited Tubemogul's updated study from September 2010, which reported that the problem of counting views was getting worse and nearly all video sites, except YouTube, counted anything including embedded autoplays as a view. According to YouTube, "A view occurs when a person watches your video. In order to preserve accuracy in view counts, we identify irregular playbacks such as spam and remove these from the view count."

Burch suggested that for publishers and advertisers it becomes a tradeoff. Another Tubemogul research report looked at drop off rates for pre-roll ads, which found that for many viewers, sitting through a pre-roll just isn't worth it. In fact, the overall number of viewers that clicked away from a video during 10-30 second pre-roll ads was close to 16%, and that number varied with top magazines and newspapers, where 24.85% of viewers click away; large broadcasters, only 10.9% of viewers click away during an ad, and video sharing sites saw 38.4% viewers click away and never actually watch the video content they originally came to see.

For advertisers, it becomes a bit of quandary when it comes traditional CPMs (Cost-Per-Impressions). If an "impression" or "view" is logged at the beginning of the pre-roll, for instance, and not after the ad has been viewed in full, then it's quite possible advertisers could end up paying for viewers that never saw their ad. For publishers, they risk losing a quarter of their audience based if they run pre-roll ads.

Burch concluded that:
"There is consensus around the industry about when to count a view, that's just a stream. But I think there's also consensus that that's obviously not enough. The technology is there to track it but benchmarking is just the beginning."

About Tubemogul
TubeMogul is a video advertising and analytics platform that connects advertisers with highly targeted audiences. TubeMogul's advertising solution is powered by the company's unprecedented data platform that tracks billions of video streams every month from the Internet's top publishers. This unique technology enables TubeMogul to help advertisers find consumers who want to watch their videos - and watch them longer. Advertisers and marketers never again have to choose engagement and accountability over reach if they use TubeMogul's video advertising and analytics platform.

Follow: tubemogul (tubemogul) on Twitter

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