A new report on viewability of video ads released by Google shows that India still lags behind countries like Japan , Australia, South Korea and others when it comes to viewability.
According to the study, only 67 per cent of video ads on the internet were viewed in 2016, a drop from 79 per cent in 2015. On YouTube, India has a viewability percentage of 91 per cent in 2016, a drop of one per cent from 2015. These numbers are only limited to desktop figures and do not include mobile numbers.
Viewability has become an important metric in recent months as advertisers demand further accountability from their advertisements. So what is the reason for the low figures for India?
Speaking to ad tech and video experts, two main reasons crop out-lower quality of advertisements and bad network infrastructure.
“The quality (of internet) here is still quite low if you compare it to a country like South Korea where the average connection speed is 20 Mbps! But I still don't think this calls for an alarm. The difference in terms of viewability is not really huge and the viewability is steadily increasing,” said Subrat Kar, Co-founder of Vidooly, a provider of video analytics.
He, however, believes that the situation is steadily improving. Speaking about the Google study, he points out that the report does not include user behaviour in native mobile apps, which might increase the overall viewability.
When asked about what advertisers could do to improve the chances that their ads are seen, he said, “Proper data based targeting is the way to go. Advertisers should target the right ads at the right audience. Interactive advertising is another area that Indian advertisers have to focus more on. This would make advertisements more fun for the audience. Also, there should be more storytelling. This would prolong the lifetime of the advert making people actually search for those ads. The latest Google ad on Bollywood is a great example.”
Lavin Punjabi, President of Affinity, is of the opinion that 100 per cent viewability has to be the order of business for anyone in video advertising space. He also suggested that pricing models would evolve to accommodate viewability and consumption.
“There has to be some evolution from the advertiser and agency community too where video is made more snackable and genuine. Today's millennial generation can't be hard sold to. There has to be a story and it has to connect. And it has to be snacky,” he opined.
Madan Sanglikar, Co-founder & Managing Partner (South East Asia) of Affle, however, feels that even though viewability is growing in importance, it is skewed towards the interest of large publishers where CMP might be the only or major metric.
“Majority of the media buys are evaluated on CPC/ CPE/ CPI, etc. type of metric, and, hence, I don't understand what the big deal is. The focus should be on tracking fraudulent clicks. And, as a next step, the optimization process should be dynamic and transparent. That will be a better way to win advertiser confidence in real terms,” he said.
Speaking about the Google study, Sanglikar opined that Asian countries, and especially India, are mostly buyer market and hence publishers/ platforms have been offering lowest CPC to survive.
“Clearly, viewability will be low agenda, in that case. Advertisers don't tend to be losing anything significant here,” he told us.
Pancham Endlaw, Head (South Asia) at Opera Mediaworks also feels that since view is a relatively new medium, many metrics and parameters are not well understood, leading to low compliance. However, he opined that this is now changing.
Speaking specifically about the Google report, he said, “As advertisers start demanding more accountability, you will see greater compliance by publishers. Also, most video has moved to in-app viewing where user experience is significantly better. Since in-app views are excluded in this study, those numbers don’t show up here. Specific to this study, not all DBM publishers use Active view. So there are campaigns that had viewability compliant (with other viewability tools like DV, etc) but show up in this study as non compliant.”
When asked what is the ‘loss’ that advertisers face due to low viewability, he stated, “I will stick my neck out on this one and say that all video advertising that is not viewable is actually fraudulent and is complete loss to advertisers. I can’t see a situation where clients will accept their budgets being spent but they are not getting any views. It is an unsustainable situation. As clients and agencies become aware of many tools to measure viewability, their compliance will improve significantly.”