Starting this month, we’re going to separate the comScore industry-wide online video viewing estimates for May and the video advertising numbers and recommendations by yours truly. It’s a good month to do it since we’ve topped a record of over 10 billion online video ads served in May according to the comScore Video Metrix.

Video advertising numbers are on the rise across the board. Not only were there around 500 million more ads shown last month over April, but the percentages of viewing minutes and videos is on the rise. It’s a slippery slope the industry is treading on right now.

According to comScore:

Video ads accounted for 21.6 percent of all videos viewed and 1.9 percent of all minutes spent viewing video online.

When you take into account that comScore says any piece of content that is interrupted by an ad pod accounts for 2 videos in their numbers (or 2 ad pods accounts for 3 videos, etc) these numbers are becoming, well, troubling. comScore also says that, “duration of the average online content video was 6.5 minutes, while the average online video ad was 0.4 minutes.”

We can’t make any general assumptions, like every video viewed had a pre-roll or a mid-roll really, but it really starts to knock down the number of actual videos viewed in regards to video ads. I think it’s safe to say that the number of video ads is overall video viewing online is closer to 40-50%, if every video has either a pre-, mid- or post-roll ad attached. It’s almost like, for every video ad there were 3.6 comScore video views. That pretty much amounts to a single video ad on 10 billion pieces of content, making 20 million comScore video views, and another 16 billion videos, so like 26 billion videos overall. But really, who has a single ad mid-roll pod these days?

The ultimate takeaway, I think, is that there are probably enough ads running against online video. If the trend continues to increase it could start to drive people away from viewing altogether or increase abandonment rates on some places versus others. It’s a slightly disturbing trend right now, ad numbers up, viewing numbers down.

My Online Video Advertising Placement Recommendations

As always, I like to stack up the comScore numbers for video advertising networks and then determine where best to place video ads, at least based on unique viewers, ad frequency and number of ads shown. That last one is usually just an indicator that an online video advertising network is stable and growing where the other two numbers are far more important to me. These recommendations don’t take into account things like number of platforms (mobile, PC, connected TV) available from the ad network, ease of use, variety of offerings, etc. It’s purely a numbers game.

If you’ve been reading my monthly pieces you know that Brightroll has been raking in first place on a regular basis and that Specific Media and are constantly in the running for the top three. Now that this is its own stand alone article, I can expand my thoughts.

Top Five Video Ad Networks for Ad Placement

#1 Brightroll – Stay no target….stay on target…

In a recent interview with Tod Sacerdoti he said Brightroll clients have tasked them with maintaining a high reach and a low ad frequency (ads per unique viewer per month) and I have to say, they’re dead on.

With 673 million ad minutes in May they still maintained a seriously low 10.3 frequency and a massive 35.8% reach (of the total US population). However, at the rate that things are going, there might be a change soon because number two is putting on some pressure.

#2 Specific Media – Kicking out the bass (low frequency)

Specific Media crushes everyone this month with a frequency of just 7. Bravo! Well Done! Their reach is pretty smokin’ hot as well at 31.9% meaning they’re only about 4 points behind number one. That could spell serious trouble in next month’s numbers if Specific Media signs on a sizable new publisher. They’ve only got about 359 million ad minutes (53.3% of Brightroll) on about 63.6% of the video ads served. Shorter ads making up for less placements?

#3 – the balancing act

There are several networks that have either a good reach and terrible frequency or vice versa. manages to maintain a balance of both with a decent reach of 24.1% and a frequency of just 13.1. Those aren’t terrible. Throw in the fact that they showed 966 million ads totaling around 556 million minutes and you can see that they’re stable and in the running to move up a slot if they could expand their reach.

#4 Google -Stuck in the middle again…

Google shows some promise with a decent reach of 24.3% and a middle-to-high 18.6 frequency. I think there might be something wrong though because according to other comScore numbers, Google sites had some 84% of all online video viewers, which could be as high as 48% of the total US population (assuming there are around 318 million now). Still, placing ads here is pretty much, placing ads at YouTube and that doesn’t sound like a bad place to do it. They also showed some 1.39 billion ads which were just a meager 143 million minutes. Mega-short ad spots?

#5 Auditude -A firm Adobe abode

Auditude makes a good showing as well with a decently low 11.6 frequency. However, they’re lacking in the reach department with just a 16% share of the total US Population. They showed just shy of 600 million ads and totaled up 219 million minutes. They’re a couple big publisher deals away from jumping up the chart.

The Worst of the Worst

In my personal algorithm, Hulu and ESPN are dreadful showing some massively negative index value. But, they also have some interesting appeal. They have highly-valuable, brand-safe content, they have very specific demographics. They have long-form content. It all probably also adds some to some massive CPM rates as well ESPN for its part showed the lowest number of ads but had the second highest frequency and a seriously terrible reach. Hulu meanwhile showed the most ads, had the highest frequency and the second-to-last reach.

The original comScore numbers

Top U.S. Online Video Ad Properties Ranked by Video Ads* Viewed
May 2012
Total U.S. – Home and Work Locations
Ad Videos Only (Content Videos Not Included)
PropertyVideo Ads (000)Total Ad Minutes (MM)Frequency (Ads per Viewer)% Reach Total U.S. Population
Total Internet : Total Audience10,076,4994,51763.651.7
Google Sites1,385,27314318.624.3
BrightRoll Video Network**1,130,98367310.335.8†966,20455613.124.1
TubeMogul Video Ad Platform**896,78725917.416.8
Specific Media**751,5423597.731.9
Tremor Video**725,94440814.116.8
SpotXchange Video Ad Marketplace†615,29032613.514.9
Auditude, Inc.**569,86221911.616.0

Broken down by Reach (highest to lowest)

  • Brightroll
  • Specific Media
  • Google
  • Tubemogul – Tremor Media(tied)
  • Auditude
  • SpotX
  • Hulu
  • ESPN

Broken down by Frequency (lowest to highest)

  • Specific
  • Brightroll
  • Auditude
  • Spotx
  • Tremor
  • Tubemogul
  • Google
  • ESPN
  • Hulu