Editor's note: The following is a guest post from David Kashak, founder and CEO of Connatix.
New standards in technology and video quality are changing how publishers work with advertisers, and it starts with a fundamental shift in how content is bought and sold. It is time to move from a quantity, "more is better," mentality into one that focuses on the quality of the video content.
Over-saturation and changes in viewing habits have started to change the tide. In an effort to capture eyeballs, quality control looms large for publishers operating in today's advertising industry.
Video ad buyers previously utilized methods that allowed them to push as much advertising content out to publishers, as quickly, as possible. As data and metrics began dictating how content was bought and sold, viewability and visibility were put at a premium, but there is more to it in video.
Quality over quantity started to pick up steam when viewing habits changed in the convergence of TV and digital. How video content is performing across screens doesn't translate directly from TV metrics or pure digital. This puts a premium on higher quality production costs, and also the need to revisit data used and budgets left to purchase the ad space.
How we should be defining quality
Quality starts from where a publisher's video inventory lives. You should always be working with partners who can identify how to find the right data in a campaign; this could be video audience demographics, previous campaign performance and insights on what worked and what didn't when it comes to signals from inside the video like content playing before or after the ads. It's also imperative that they filter and process this information correctly to ensure that it matches what the publishers define, so both advertisers and publishers can optimize toward a positive user experience.
Technology can sometimes prevent the supply and demand sides from working together but having a direct transmissions of information as close to real time as possible between the two cleans up the ecosystem. A direct relationship helps prevent the possibility of fraud on spend, rebates and faulty technology, and it puts more of the focus on standardizing definitions of quality and maximizing video performance for both sides. This comes from both quality in content of the page text and the videos shown, as well as quality in accurate audience behavior and viewing characteristics that publishers have aggregated.
Here's another example of this: a buyer is seeing declines over time in the video ad being viewed to completion. They have $1 million to spend, but they're finding that $300,000 of this went to sites that don't have relevant or appropriate content, don't have engaged users and have servers that are routinely down. This leaves just $700,000 of the campaign that's netting positive ROI.
They should absolutely be drilling deeper into video characteristics of the top sites in the $300,000 bucket and contrasting to the remainder, such as reviewing what video content is playing before or after their ads, how often users are watching videos on that publisher's site in general and what those users tend to enjoy watching. By doing this analysis, marketers can better benchmark with the metrics that are working to raise the bar next time around. While you may pay more to access better ad space, you'll be more likely to get the full ROI that you expect, rather than starting at 30% in the red.
Doing your due diligence
By now you're probably wondering, "well, if I continue to buy in bulk but not spend more to increase quality at the onset, couldn't I still get better value?" That's not usually the case. Everyone on the buy side may be thinking cheaper equals efficiency. But sometimes, volume and lower quality in video harm long-term conversion goals.
If ROI for a brand is having a buyer actually buy something, or ROI (especially for video) is a customer actually remembering the brand, then you need to ensure the metrics are in place to adequately reach those goals and customize how you are assessing as well.
If you're only looking at this from a "more and cheaper is better" strategy, you wind up wasting a significant amount of money on things you didn't want like unnecessary technology, unimportant data and superfluous manpower. Stakes are higher in video, because you spend more on inputs and budgets tend to be larger as well. When you have a $1 million budget and you don't take the time to focus on quality but want more visibility, then you run the risk of wasting $300,000.
If you are spending the money on quality production, then make sure to have more channel-specific data to get better insights and analyze appropriately to carve out contextually relevant inventory surrounding your ad. Doing so sets you up for quality results in the long run.