Mobile’s average eCPM inched up a cent from $1.01 in June to $1.02 in September, a relatively inconsequential 0.9% increase. Online video, the most expensive option, remained basically on par with the prior quarter, with eCPMs averaging $10.97 in September from $11.03 in June, a 0.54% decrease.
The increase in display ad eCPM was attributed to increased activity at the end of Q3 for back-to-school campaigns, while mobile’s flat prices are the result of a hike in impressions keeping pace with demand, according to the analysts.
The study illustrates the most common pricing buckets and formats for each channel:
- Display: 53% of impressions are in the $0.10-$0.80 range, mostly unchanged from Q1 and Q2. The most popular display ad formats in Q3, by percentage of impressions, were 728×90 (40.4%) and 300×250 (38.5%), also relatively stable from Q2;
- Mobile: 60.6% of impressions are in the $0.10-$1.00 range, up from 56% in Q2 and 52% in Q1. The 320×50 unit was easily the leading mobile ad format, at 82% of impressions, up from 74.9% in Q2, but not quite at Q1′s level (88.5% share); and
- Video: 60.3% of impressions are in the $8-12 range, down from 71% in Q2. The leading video ad formats were 15-second pre-rolls (48%, from 43% in Q2) and 30-second pre-rolls (34.1%, from 38.4%).
Online video ad views have been increasing rapidly this year, reaching a new high of 22.8 billion in August after a slight dip in July, according to the latest data from comScore. Last year, video ad views totaled 9.5 billion in August, when comScore’s methodology changed, demonstrating just how many more online video ads Americans are now watching on a monthly basis. Interestingly, this year’s increases aren’t the result of far greater reach among Americans. Rather, viewers are each seeing a much larger number of ads.
During the month, 55.6% of the US population was reached by online video ads, up only slightly from 55.4% the previous month. While reach has increased every month this year, the growth has been incremental, up from 50.5% in January.
Video ad frequency, though, has been growing more rapidly. In August, the average viewer saw 132 ads, besting the previous high of 121 set in June, and more than doubling January’s average of 58.
Google remained the top online video ad property in August, delivering roughly 3.2 billion ads. ADAP.TV moved back into the second spot (2.45 billion), ahead of BrightRoll (2.39 ! billion),! LIVERAIL (2.2 billion), and Specific Media (1.67 billion), as 8 properties delivered more than 1 billion impressions.
In terms of video content, Google Sites again had the highest number of unique viewers (167 million), followed by AOL (71.2 million), Facebook (62.2 million), NDN (50.7 million) and VEVO (49.4 million).
Overall, comScore’s data indicates that 87% of online Americans watched video content in August, with the total number of videos viewed dropping to 46.7 billion from 48.5 billion in July. The duration of the average content video was 5.2 minutes, with the average online video ad lasting 24 seconds.
The average online video viewer spent about 21.6 hours watching video content during the month. A comparison of TV and online video consumption can be found here.
- Among the top 10 video content properties, Google Sites generated the highest engagement, at an average of 522 minutes per viewer during the month. NDN was next at 92 minutes per viewer.
- VEVO retained its top spot in the YouTube partner rankings with almost 48 million unique viewers, followed by FullScreen and Maker Studios.
Performance metrics based on the size of US video ads saw a clearer trajectory than ad length. The larger the video ad, the higher the completion rate, with a 93.0% completion rate for extra-large video ads vs. a 66.0% completion for extra-small video ads. Clickthrough rates (CTR) also seemed to rise with video ad sizes. However, once ads were medium-sized or bigger, CTRs went up to at least 0.9% and continued to hover in that range.
Ads in the medium to large range were also the most common video ads, accounting for 77.4% of served impressions, indicating that marketers know these sizes are strongest.
Bot traffic continues to be a global problem, says Solve Media in its latest Bot Traffic Market Advisory update. In Q2, activity deemed “suspicious” grew to 49% of all traffic for the web advertising ecosystem, up from 43% in Q1, 40% in Q4 2012 and 26% in Q3. Confirmed bot traffic was in the range of 24-29%, fairly consistent with prior quarters, but still up significantly from 10% in Q3 2012. Suspicious mobile traffic, while not quite on the same level as the web, is also on the rise.
During Q2, suspicious activity grew from 29% to 35% for mobile advertising, with confirmed bot traffic in the 11-14% range.
The US’ level of suspicious web activity was slightly below the global average, at 42%, with suspicious mobile activity also below-average at 22%.
The top 3 countries for suspicious web activity were: China (92%); Venezuela (80%); and the Ukraine (77%). For mobile traffic, the countries with the highest share of suspicious activity were: Singapore (86%); Macau (82%); and Qatar (81%).
Solve Media also warns of a “new threat targeting the video ad marketplace.” Recently, Vindico suggested that 30-40% of video ad impressions could be fraudulent.
Overall, Solve Media estimates that current levels of bot traffic put the digital advertising industry on pace to waste up to $9.5 billion this year advertising to bots.
Retailers, attracted by lower costs-per-click (CPCs) and higher click-through rates (CTRs), are diverting more paid search dollars from text ads to product listing ads (PLAs), says Marin Software [download page] in a new report. The study, which focuses on advertisers and agencies spending more than $100,000 per month on paid search (and is thus skewed towards larger retailers), finds that PLA CTRs have been steadily rising for several months, having increased by 19% year-over-year in July.
CTRs have been higher for PLAs than for standard text ads since November 2012, according to the study, with the 21% gap in June and July the highest yet.
After showing a marked increase in the latter stages of 2012, the share of PLA impressions compared to text ads leveled off early this year before dropping again in June and July. Despite that, Marin believes that the indexed share of PLA impressions versus text ads will increase again now that Google has expanded the ads to mobile devices.
Search advertisers must meet consumers where they conduct their web activity
As smartphones and tablets play an increasingly dominant role in consumers’ daily web activities, advertisers are putting more dollars to paid search ads on the devices. According to Q2 2013 research from digital marketing solutions company IgnitionOne, US mobile paid search spend more than doubled year over year on both smartphones and tablets. By comparison, total search spend was up only 7% over Q2 2012.
Tablets saw a slightly bigger bump in spending and delivered impressions, but smartphones grew more robustly in terms of clicks, as more users tapped on paid search links on their phones. In keeping with this, the cost-per-click (CPC) on smartphones got cheaper, down by 13%, while tablets’ CPCs were up 13%.
Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.
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