The struggles of digital video measurement: BrightRoll Summit

Yesterday, at Toronto's Kool Haus, the digital video platform brought together industry experts to discuss the need for better measurement and the challenge of short attention spans in the digital space.
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At the inaugural BrightRoll Video Summit, hosted by the San Francisco-based digital video ad platform, industry experts from media buying to measurement bureaus to the brand side came together at Toronto’s Kool Haus to discuss the biggest challenges and opportunities with digital video advertising today.

Missed the conference? Here are three key takeaways.

The industry is still struggling with measurement

While folks during the intermission didn’t seem overly surprised by the announcements that digital video was still lacking a solid tracking infrastructure, it bears mentioning just how prevalent during the presentations “measurement” was. In fact, all of the panelists and speakers brought up the issue, with many debating the systemic problems that are keeping Canada back.

Dale King, director, client services at Nielsen, started the day highlighting the difficulty in rolling out tracking software here, pointing to a lack of budgets and smaller sample sizes as the key drivers for the backlog. She offered the brand’s online campaign rating software, which launched in the US two-and-a-half years ago, but only came north of this past summer, as an example of this divide.

Digital video spend isn’t keeping pace

King says the lack of measurement, coupled with smaller budgets, have meant a much slower brand adoption of digital video content in Canada. Pointing to a US study – and overlayed with Canadian numbers – she says that despite having a meteoric rise (going from 15% of all video watched in 2012 to 30% in 2013 in Canada), digital video only comprises a small percentage of a brand’s total media spend (2.2% as of 2012), especially considering the flat growth of TV over the past few years.

The research found that shifting even just 5% of a marketing budget into digital videos can have a big impact. For example, the 5% digital video budget shift resulted in a 33% increase in brand recall, a 30% increase in message recall and a 40% increase in likability – compared to a just-on-TV spot. Further, she says they found that ads seen online prior to seeing it on TV performed better than those that aired on TV prior to being viewed online.

Brent Bernie, president of comScore, in a panel on better utilizing measurement (alongside Owen Charlebois, market insights group, Google), added that the industry may be the victim of its own early promises, saying that when digital and digital video first launched, the industry boasted about being the “most measurable medium.” However, he quickly points out that click-through rates are not the be-all and end-all of measurement. Now, he says, it’s up to the industry to change the narrative around effectiveness of digital video.

There’s plenty of room to do digital content better

Alice DiGiovanni, digital account director, Carat, in a session on the creative edge of digital video, says that while the digital space is a great opportunity for brands to showcase products and innovate, the biggest challenge will be to educate brands, media and creative agencies.

With pre-roll ads skipable after five seconds, creative and media brands have to be better at telling what would have been a 60-second brand love story in less than five seconds. But despite shorter attention spans, it’s also a huge opportunity for brands to increase engagement beyond the 15- or 30-second TV spot, pointing to a 15-second spot she worked on with Target. Online, viewers could click through the commercial to view a carousel of products featured in the ad and also see other possible back-to-school items, all within the confines of the video. Viewers ended up spending 60 seconds with the brand, four times more than if they had just seen it on TV.

Pictured (L-R): David Bellemare, managing director, BrightRoll Canada; Derek Bhopalsingh, VP, managing partner, MEC Interaction; Azadeh Mahinpou Dindayal, VP, Havas Media and Philippe Tremblay, media manager, Danone.