Display advertising has seen a resurgence over the past few years thanks to much improved targeting and testing technologies, but some very significant problems remain.
A new report out from Comscore indicates that 3 out of 10 display ads were never rendered "in-view" in 2012. Despite delivering upwards of six trillion impressions, if users can't see the ad they are certainly unlikely to ever click (or take any action).
For advertisers the lack of "viewable" impressions results in significant waste, weaker campaign performance and poor-performing inventory overall that imbalances the supply-and-demand equation and depresses CPMs. Through the continued adoption of a viewable impressions standard however, the market will likely move toward a model that better aligns monetization with the value created by the inventory according to Comscore.
“2013 is poised to be digital’s most exciting year yet as the growing ubiquity of digital platforms presents marketers with nearly endless opportunities to connect and engage with consumers,” said Linda Abraham, comScore CMO and EVP of Global Product Development. “It’s clear that the dynamics of the marketplace have fundamentally evolved through the adoption of smartphones and tablets and the increasingly ‘digital’ nature of all media. Navigating this changing landscape requires a holistic understanding of the key trends, underlying drivers and new opportunities that the digital ecosystem will bring in the year ahead.”
Comscore provided several insights in its 2013 U.S. Digital Future in Focus report, including details on social media market share, Google and Bing search market share, online video, and ecommerce.
A strong video strategy can provide merchants with many benefits – from an increase in engagement and conversion rates to better placement within the SERPs.
The biggest challenge with video, however, is creating content that will engage consumers and entice them to hit the play button. While many merchants implement video on their sites, often times their video strategies are limited to product videos and demonstrations for specific items. Although these types of videos are definitely helpful, they aren’t very engaging and are rarely available for every product on an e-commerce website.
In order to harness the true power of video, merchants need to create a more robust and innovative strategy that not only showcases their products, but is also interactive and makes consumers want to hit play. Luckily, Website Magazine has compiled a list of five tactics that can help merchants revamp their current video strategy to get better results, check them out below:
Brands that want to stay a step ahead of the competition should consider implementing a live video strategy. One way this can be done is with the Your BrandLive platform, which is a video communication software that uses live video and chat to create a unique customer to brand experience. In fact, brands can use the service to broadcast live video from any location and participate in real-time interactions with customers. Moreover, merchants can sell products during video sessions by uploading items into the Brandlive dashboard. By doing this, products are displayed across the bottom of the live video with titles, descriptions, images, prices and a call-to-action button for making a purchase.
That being said, merchants can also go live on Google+ with Google Hangouts. This feature can be used to video conference with up to ten people at a time, as well as live-stream a broadcast publicly onto Google+, YouTube and websites. This could come in handy when revealing a highly-anticipated product for the first time.
According to comScore, U.S. consumers watched 11.3 billion online videos in December 2012, which proves that video advertising is a big business. Furthermore, video ads tend to be successful because consumers typically either have to choose to hit play in order to view the advertisement or have already decided to watch a video (meaning they are alert) when the advertisement is shown. Merchants can launch video advertisements through Google, as well as on video ad networks like BrightRoll, Live Rail or Adap.TV. Additionally, LinkedIn recently announced video ads on its self-serve platform, which could be a good place for B2B merchants to display their advertisements.
Most merchants know how influential consumer reviews can be, so why not feature them in a unique way? Yes, we are talking about video reviews. In fact, there are a variety of platforms available that allow merchants to include user-generated video content on their site, including Bravo, Authntk and EXPO TV. These videos could even prove to be more valuable than written reviews, because it is easier to tell someone’s sentiment when you can watch them speak, which makes this type of user-generated content more personable, relatable and believable.
It is important to use a multi-channel approach when implementing a video strategy. By maintaining a YouTube channel and cross-promoting that content on other social sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest, merchants have the ability to show their products to a wider audience. Moreover, merchants can use their social videos to create a variety of content outside of tutorials and demonstrations, such as entertaining spoofs or a behind the scenes look at a company.
Just because you have updated your current video strategy to include some of the aforementioned tactics, doesn’t mean you should neglect adding or updating product videos/demonstrations on your site. After all, product videos are helpful to consumers who are on the verge of making a purchasing decision, which means having a video on every product page could potentially have a dramatic influence on conversion rates. That being said, creating videos is time consuming, which is why platforms like Treepodia can be very helpful to merchants. This is because Treepodia can be used to turn entire product catalogs into product videos. The platform does this with Image Reviving Technology, which brings still photos to life. Moreover, the videos are always kept up-to-date as the platform automatically generates new video versions to reflect changes in inventory and all videos are based on existing product images, descriptions, prices, user reviews and merchandising rules.
For the final three months of 2012, comScore is reporting that sales increased 14 percent to $56.8 billion, marking the ninth straight quarter of double-digit growth.
U.S. retail e-commerce sales grew 15 percent to $186 billion for the full year, the strongest annual growth rate since before the recession.
"With e-commerce growth rates consistently in the mid-teens throughout the year, it is clear that the online channel has won over the American consumer and will increasingly be relied upon to deliver on the dimensions of lower price, convenience and selection," said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni.
Also worthy of note from the Comscore report is that the number of buyers rose 6 percent and spending per buyer increased 8 percent for the fourth quarter.
Comscore has released its analysis of online holiday spending in the U.S., and as every digital media maven in the virtual world predicted, it was a very merry season indeed.
Online shoppers purchased a whopping $42.3 billion worth of goods in November and December – up 14 percent from what Comscore reported just last year.
There were several standout days according to Comscore including Thanksgiving Day (which was up 32 percent year-over-year), Black Friday (up 28 percent) and Free Shipping Day which fell on December 17th (up 76 percent year over year to over $1 billion).
A recent comScore study revealed that mobile phones and tablets now account for 1 in 8 U.S. Internet page views, further indicating that mobile is becoming an increasingly popular way for consumers to connect with businesses when they are away from their desktops.
This is especially true for consumers who are trying to find local businesses, such as places to eat, while on the go. Popular online reservation platform OpenTable has taken note of this trend, and is now offering a new service that optimizes its clients websites for mobile devices – for free.
The new service, powered by DudaMobile, is said to be easy to implement, while making a client’s website more user-friendly - without sacrificing the branding of the restaurant’s desktop website.
"More than ever diners are seeking information about restaurants and booking reservations on the go, yet the vast majority of restaurant websites are not designed for mobile use," said Matt Roberts, Chief Executive Officer of OpenTable. "Our goal is to make it easier for restaurants to reap the benefits from the shift toward mobile by removing the friction associated with creating and hosting mobile-friendly sites."
To further prove that mobile has made a huge impact in the restaurant industry, OpenTable claims that 28 percent of the 28 million diners that the company seated in North America booked their reservations on mobile devices in the second quarter of 2012. Additionally, OpenTable has seated more than 30 million diners through reservations booked on mobile devices since November 2008, which represents more than $1 billion in revenue for OpenTable’s restaurant clients.
OpenTable’s restaurant clients in the U.S., Canada and the UK can leverage this free service by claiming their mobile site through the OpenTable Restaurant Center before February 1, 2013.
In an effort to add another layer to its analytics, VivaKi has partnered with comScore to offer its VivaKi Nerve Center Audience on Demand users ad viewability metrics that measure how often a digital ad is actually viewed (as opposed to just served).
A “viewable” advertisement displays at least 50 percent of its pixels on a user’s screen and remains there for at least one second.
This new metric will allow VivaKi Nerve Venter customers to pre-optimize their campaigns using insights about which of their ads are most viewable to end users, and thus performing better. However, advertisers will need to opt-in to use the new measurement.
In January, comScore reported that nearly 31 percent of online ads that were purchased by the 12 major brands it studied were not viewable. Just last week, the Media Rating Council accredited comScore’s Campaign Essentials metrics, which include exciting new metrics like brand safety, engagement, in-country geographic delivery and removal of non-human traffic, in addition to viewability.
Measuring viewability over simply impressions is a testament to the progress that has been made in ad analytics. In fact, last year, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) said that it wanted the ad marketplace to begin moving towards viewability as the standard metric for studying ad impressions. Another industry coalition wants to get it recognized as the standard by the beginning of 2013.
A new report from comScore has found that tablets have quickly reached a “critical mass” in the U.S., with 1 in every 4 smartphone owners using tablets during the three-month average period ending April 2012.
The study also found that tablet users were nearly three times more likely to watch video on their devices compared to smartphone users, with 1 in every 10 tablet users viewing video content almost daily.
“Tablets are one of the most rapidly adopted consumer technologies in history and are poised to fundamentally disrupt the way people engage with the digital world both on-the-go and, perhaps most notably, in the home,” says Mark Donovan, comScore SVP of Mobile. “It’s not surprising to see that once consumers get their hands on their first tablet, they are using them for any number of media habits including TV viewing.”
Adoption Jumps Nearly 12 Percent
In just two years since the launch of the iPad, the first tablet to reach a meaningful market penetration, tablet adoption has exploded, fueled by the introduction of new devices that appeal to various price and feature preferences. In April 2012, 16.5 percent of mobile phone subscribers used a tablet, representing an increase of 11.8 percentage points in the past year.
Growth in market penetration was even more apparent among the smartphone population with nearly 1 in 4 using a tablet device in April, an increase of 13.9 percentage points in the past year. A lower 10.4 percent of feature phone owners use a tablet, suggesting that smartphone ownership is highly predictive of tablet adoption in the current market.
Older Users on the Whole
A demographic analysis of mobile device audiences indicated that tablet and smartphone audiences closely resemble one another in terms of gender composition, with tablet users just slightly more likely to be female than smartphone users. However, the age composition of audiences showed that tablet users skewed noticeably older than smartphone users.
For both devices, the heaviest overall audience concentration was between the ages of 25-44. Compared to smartphone owners, tablet users were 28 percent more likely to be in the 65 and older age segment, and 27 percent less likely to be age 18-24.
Tablet users also skewed towards upper-income households, likely a function of the high price point of these devices still considered a luxury good to many consumers. Nearly 3 in 5 tablet users resided in households with income of $75,000 or greater, compared to 1 in every 2 smartphone users.
Video Content Consumers
A closer look at content consumption on tablets found that more than half of tablet users watched video and/or TV content on their device in April 2012, compared to just 20 percent of the smartphone audience, with larger screen sizes making tablets more conducive to video consumption than their smaller-screen cousins. Not only were tablet users more likely to watch video, but they were more likely to view video habitually, with 18.9 percent of tablet users watching video content at least once a week, and 9.5 percent watching video nearly every day on their devices.
Of those viewing video at least once during the month, 1 in 4 (26.7 percent) paid to watch content, highlighting the tremendous monetization potential this platform represents for content providers.
Comscore recently announced the release of Validated Campaign Essentials (vCE), a product designed to validate digital ad delivery. The measurement solution provides a view into campaign delivery and a “verified” assessment of ad-exposed audiences.
Unlike other solutions, vCE provides an account of impressions delivered across a variety of dimensions – for example, are ads delivered in-view, in the right geography, in a brand safe environment and absent of fraudulent delivery. A U.S.-based vCE Charter Study involving 12 brands found that while ads are being delivered they are not always “in-view” or worse “on target” resulting in never having a chance to make an impact on the user.
“The display advertising market today is characterized by an overabundance of inventory, often residing on parts of a web page that are never viewed by the user. This dilutes the impact of campaigns for advertisers and represents a drag on prices to publishers,” said Dr. Magid Abraham, President and CEO of comScore.
“Conversely, some ads below the fold are quite visible and deserve more credit. comScore’s introduction of vCE signals an evolution in digital advertising that will bring greater transparency and accountability to the market. Ultimately, this type of third-party validation will help identify and appropriately price the proportion of online ad inventory that delivers value, improve buying and selling decisions, and instill more confidence and trust in the industry.”