Earlier this week, comScore released a report entitled Surviving the Upfronts in a Cross-Media World, a guide for navigating the cross-media landscape during this year’s TV and digital upfronts.
The report examines how the online video market can be used to supplement traditional television advertising. It also looks at the effectiveness of cross-media campaigns. The report also features some recommendations for advertisers, agencies, and media buyers who are thinking about incorporating digital video formats to their media mix.
“With the digital upfronts in their second year, more advertisers are considering adding digital video to their media mix in long-form TV programming and short-form video,” said Judy Bahary, SVP, Marketing Solutions at comScore in a press release. “Our research shows an incredible synergy between TV and digital video formats when used together in cross-media campaigns, driving effectiveness levels higher than either medium used on its own. As the online video market continues to develop, we should see it evolve from its current supporting role to an essential part of media planning in the annual upfronts.”
Key findings in the report include:
- The online video audience reaches approximately 180 million monthly unique viewers. In addition, average engagement levels are rising as it continues to play a more prominent role in the online experience.
- Adding a digital video component to a TV media plan can increase the effective reach of the campaign in a very efficient manner.
- Digital video ad formats are just as effective as TV ads. But TV and digital video have a synergistic effect when used together, making this media mix more effective than either one on its own.
- Multi-Screen consumers are a fast-growing segment and need to be marketed to on multiple screens in order for campaigns to achieve optimal reach and frequency levels.
- Younger age segments are generally more receptive to digital advertising than TV, highlighting the importance of incorporating digital video into the media buying and planning process.
It’s no surprise that YouTube is the clear leader in the online video market today, easily drawing 146 million viewers in March 2012. Other leading publishers of video content include Yahoo! (61 million viewers that month), VEVO (51 million) and Facebook (45 million). Many of these properties fluctuate within the top 10 ranking from month to month, but their audiences are consistently strong.
To get a true sense of how widespread online video content is in the U.S., comScore examined its reach within the online population as well as among the total U.S. population, and segmented it by age group. Overall, more than 4 in 5 Internet users are consuming online video content in a given month.
The 18- to 24-year-old segment showed the highest penetration of its online population at 87 percent. Another interesting finding is that for ages 25-34 and 35-44, there is virtually no difference between online video’s reach among the web population and the total U.S. population, which suggests that nearly 100 percent of people ages 25-34 and 35-44 in the U.S. are Internet users, making a strong case for the potential value of online video advertising for marketers interested in reaching all of these segments.
While the monthly audience for online video content is steady at around 180 million people, the degree to which users engage with online video has increased dramatically in the past year. In fact, 30 percent more Americans now watch online video content on an average day than they did a year ago.
The average user spends more than 21 hours per month (up 47 percent) watching more than 200 content videos (up 20 percent). Americans’ growing interest in long-form video content is evident from the growth in the average time spent watching a video, which has jumped 23 percent in the last year to 6.4 minutes.
The report makes its most persuasive arguments when it cites the latest data or recent studies. However, it also makes some less persuasive arguments when it suggests editing “TV ads down to 15 seconds to optimize for digital platforms.” This isn’t backed up with any supporting evidence.
Cutting a 30-60 second TV ad spot down to 15 seconds might make sense “if” viewers have no choice and no control over which ads they want to see and when. Anything longer might annoy or irritate them.
But, the advent of YouTube’s TrueView video ads, which give viewers the ability to skip an advertiser’s message, means you might not need to cut your 30-60 second TV ad spot. And since YouTube charges you only when a viewer has chosen to watch your ad, not when an impression is served, there’s no cost and no risk to running a spot that’s longer than 15 seconds.
Despite this quibble, the rest of Surviving the Upfronts in a Cross-Media World is well worth reading. It’s loaded with insights that are actionable.