How effective are video ads?

SitaramanWatching videos on the internet is becoming known as the “killer application” . It will soon make up 85 percent of traffic on the web according to computer science researcher Ramesh Sitaraman at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. But advertisers want to know just how effective video ads are.

“Video usage is growing so rapidly,” says Sitaraman, “but making online videos economically sustainable and profitable is a burning question of key importance to the future economics and evolution of the Internet.” He and his research partner S. Shunmuga Krishnan of Akamai recently completed one of the largest-ever scientific studies of the effectiveness of video ads.

video ad

Sitaraman, says a well-accepted measure of ad effectiveness is if viewers watch the video ads to completion or not. “Viewers by and large watch video ads to completion, though we found that the position in the video where the ad was inserted had the largest impact”. Ads inserted in the middle of a video where viewers are usually most engaged with the content had a 97 percent ad completion rate, while ads inserted at the beginning or end were only completed at 74 and 45 percent, respectively.

“The primary scientific challenge in understanding video ads is the large number of conflicting factors that could influence viewer behaviour. For instance, if short 15-second ads inserted in the middle of videos complete more often, it is unclear if the higher completion rates are because of the ad’s mid-roll position or its shorter length. To quantitatively assess the impact of the various factors, we devised novel data analysis techniques that extract key nuggets of information that are hidden within large amounts of video viewing data,” says Sitaraman. – Deskarati

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