Moderator: Steve Smith
Philip Braden, ScanScout
Eric Hadley, CEO, Heavy
Rebecca Paoletti, Yahoo
Chris Allen, Starcom
Panel starts with some show-and-tell.
ScanScout Philip Braden shows overlays. Plays in-stream while the video is playing. From that point on, the ad experience is completely user initiated. New example that Philip showed was a video-in-video overlay. Cool demo alert: There was video playing in the overlay. Lots of potential here.
Eric Hadley, CMO, Heavy.com, shows an example from the Husky Media Network. It is a full page takeover that wraps around the video player. They also have a video guide that can load other syndicated content, and then serve an ad against the syndicated content, which has been pre-vetted for ad friendliness. Essentially, their ad covers up all of the content on a website except the video player. It removes the risk of having your ad seen along side questionable content.
Rebecca starts by asking the room how many people would buy those Heavy skins. Not one hand. Then into the Yahoo pitch. Four different formats, but 90% of their revenue comes from only two of those formats. User is prompted to roll over for more info. When the user does, an overlay appears that can be interacted with. Rebecca says they are seeing 6% CTR on them. A whole 6%. Not a â€œpoint-six percent.â€ She also shows a persistent bug that sits on top of the player that will launch an overlay. Clicking on the subsequent overlay can launch a microsite that sits on top of the player. For each clip, the advertiser gets three opportunities to engage.
Steve: What types of content are these formats good for monetizing? How do they map and match against different types of content?
ScanScout: overlays work across all types of content. They also work great for short form content where you canâ€™t show a pre-roll. You can also contextually target the ads. We have a fair number of publishers that have UGC, and we can filter out undesirable content. The technology is flexible, which allows a brand like Disney to have different standards than Budweiser.
Eric, Heavy: We find that the skins are excellent for monetizing longer form content. We can show multiple ads without asking the user to interrupt their experience. The video guide allows the advertiser to know what content their ads will be next to.
Rebecca: We can serve pre-roll against a lot of our professionally produced content, like sports highlights. Some publishers donâ€™t like overlays because their content is their â€˜bread and butterâ€™ and they donâ€™t want it covered.
Philip: We can also put the overlay under the player for publishers who donâ€™t want to cover any of their content.
Steve: Are we effectively monetizing short news clips?
Rebecca: Specific content may not be monetized on purpose. Breaking news, for example. We want users to be able to get a hurricane update immediately, without watching an ad.
Steve: Are these formats making video safer for brands?
Chris: We have two buckets. UGC and not UGC. Most of our advertisers believe they can reach their audience without dipping into the UGC pool. But we still see tons of pre-roll, mainly because its easy. Theyâ€™ve already created it. We advocate for shorter ads. But you canâ€™t get substantial reach without looking to the portals. We also look at the ad-to-content ratio for a publisher. 4:1 content to ad ratio is probably OK. Weâ€™re helping our advertisers understand what they can do with video. Most of them donâ€™t know that you can do lead gen with video.
Steve: What about portability? Is there pushback from publishers or brands that donâ€™t want their ads to follow the content as it is hypersyndicated?
Philip: We integrate our technology so that the ads can travel with the video. But we also want to know where the content has gone before we serve an ad.
Rebecca: Portability was a huge push for our latest ad formats. We wanted to make it easy for our publishers to use. We focused on keeping the interactions within the video player.
Chris: We want see where the content goes before we buy ads. Syndicating content out to social networks is still scary for a lot of advertisers. When we first started talking about syndication of content across the web, we knew it would be huge. Previously we had always applied the value to the content. But weâ€™re finding that there is also a lot of value on the publisher that delivers the content. The CBS Audience Network still gets the majority of their views from CBS.com.
Steve: How well do the formats encourage video use?
Eric: We wanted to be able to monetize the video anywhere, and not force people to watch a pre-roll. When you serve an ad in the middle of a video, youâ€™ve already got the user hooked. You need to get them hooked first. If they back out of the video because of a pre-roll, you lose all the potential ad impressions that would have come after it.
Philip: Its hard to say that any form of advertising encourages viewing. But ads need to be configured in a way so that it doesnâ€™t alienate users.
Rebecca: This is an ongoing debate. I always have people saying â€œkill the pre-roll.â€ And weâ€™ll test it, but it never affects the levels of video consumption. Our focus is on the number of videos to ads. On the entertainment side, there is no difference in video consumption regardless of the ad format.
Steve: Video ads are becoming more interactive. It is still interruptive, even if it is up to them. Are people really willing to interact with an ad?
Philip: Engagement in general is good. We are 1%+ CTR on the overlays. But more than half of the people that click on the overlay eventually click through to the destination site.
Erik: We put the interactivity in the skin because it is such a large piece of real estate. Our audience multitasks. They want to watch a bunch of goofy videos, not really paying attention.
Steve: Are we getting to the point where there is confusion in the market about what constitutes a video ad?
Erik: You need to try lots of things.
Chris: People expect new things. They want to be entertained and have fresh new things in front of them while they are surfing the web. Part of our job is to be respectful of the user experience.
Steve: What are you charging media buyers for these ad formats?
Philip: Overlays start at $10 CPM.
Erik: Weâ€™re looking at $25 CPMs
Rebecca: Weâ€™re in the middle of negotiating our upfronts, but generally CPMs start at $25 for ROS because we are able to do a lot of targeting.
Chris: When I compare video CPMs to TV, there is a huge premium online. And weâ€™re willing to pay that premium if we know that it is being effective. I think the â€œteensâ€ is a good rate for pre-roll.