Unduplicated Reach for Video Ads

Everyone knows intuitively that digital video advertising must be effective — after all, look how the number of people watching it keeps growing. But are you reaching the same people with your digital video ads that you reach on TV? Most media planners don’t know.

They’re just beginning to focus on measuring digital video, because they are beginning to spend more for it. The pre-roll on YouTube, much as it is disliked, is insurance that the ad is being seen. That’s the only sure-fire metric.

In some respects, video ads can be measured like TV ads are measured. Nielsen can tell us who is viewing what during a certain time slot –IF there’s a time slot. For most video there isn’t. Can Nielsen tell us about online video that’s always there, viewed on demand, time-shifted, seen on a mobile device?

The answer to that question is yes and no. Current measurement techniques can tell you who has watched your ad. But, like TV ad measurement, it doesn’t yet tell you how that viewership influences actual sales.  Like most TV advertising, most video advertising is for “brand lift,” rather than performance.

However, brand lift is a weak metric when you have to take your media plan into a budget forecasting meeting. Especially if you don’t know whether the people you reach on YouTube are the same people you reach on TV.

It stands to reason there might be a great deal of duplicated reach between people who watch video and people who watch TV. As Adit Abhyankar said recently,

“if [marketers] are chasing other proxy brand metrics without un-duplicating audience reach across advertising platforms, they will not know how much of their digital video audience engagement is incremental and how much they would have gotten anyway. It’s the equivalent of having a bazooka in your arsenal, but only thinking you have something as powerful as a water gun.”

But what about people who don’t watch videos online, but could be your market. How can you use video ads to reach them?

Last week, participating in some agency meetings where the question of unduplicated reach came up, we realized ZINC had an answer: our InArticle formats do not run on video sites as pre-roll or post-roll, but on pages where people are actually reading. They can be seen, because they are different from what else is on the page, but they are unobtrusive, because they don’t play until the viewer gets there, and the audio doesn’t come on unless the viewer hovers. Even better, if the viewer clicks, the video expands to the size of the page.

We’ve realized this is powerful stuff, because not only do we have the partnerships set up with both comScore and Nielsen to measure view ability, we also have a format that provides marketers with unduplicated reach. Bring on Q4!