The MMA put out its first Mobile Video Benchmark Study which looks at all things mobile video advertising. No, that's not MMA as in mixed martial arts. It's MMA as in Mobile Marketing Association. The data for the report was supplied by AdColony, BrightRoll, Brightcove, Hulu, Tremor, and Videology and consisted of 559 million ad impressions. While the completion rate being low is not surprising for skippable ads, other findings are, and make the report quite interesting.
Mobile Video Ad CTR
The MMA took a look at all the formats of mobile video ads and put together some CTR numbers for them. The numbers cone out pretty close to about a 2% average.
Value Exchange saw the highest CTR. Given the fact that the format is all about incentivization, it is not a surprising piece of data. Looking at skippable versus non-skippable shows that there is roughly a 0.8% depression in CTR when the ads are skippable, probably because people are doing just that, skipping the ads. CTR on skippable linear video and interstitial runs roughly at two-thirds of CTR on the non-skippable versions of those formats
The MMA says the implication is that the ads were more relevant to those who chose not to skip. My thought is that may be true, but just looking at the numbers without user behavior makes for unknown variables. For instance, in some mobile games, sometimes I will click a non-skippable video ad because it is faster to do that, close the browser and get back to the game than sitting through the whole video ad. If it is skippable, I have yet to sit through the ad or to click through. This tells me they do not know what is relevant to me personally, and that is just fine. But it also shows that extrapolating the relevance of the ads based on CTR alone might not be the best way to proceed. My clicking has nothing to do with relevance and more to do with time savings.
The Value exchange CTR is just about the same as the non-skippable linear video at 2.4%. This is interesting given that normally you must watch through to the end of the video to recent the incentive.
Completion Rates Run as Expected
The big no brainer in the report is in the completion rates of various mobile video ad formats. All non-skippable formats have completion rates in the 90+ percentiles while the skippable ads run far lower with linear video ads being the lowest at just 8% and Interstitial almost three times that at 23%, but still far below non-skippable.
So we can add up these numbers and find that 90.5% of mobile users skip a linear video ad when given the choice and that number drops to 75.6% for skippable interstitial ads. As an aside, I have seen interstitials that have a menu overlay which then disappears as the video ad plays and you have to tap the screen to get it back in order to skip the video. That may account for some of the drop off in skips for the interstitial type. Value Exchange is at 97%, if you add in the 2.4% CTR that's 99.4% who watched the whole thing or clicked on it. Clearly, the best way to capture mobile user interest as it is only losing around 0.6%. That is completely logical since the users are choosing to watch the video in order to get something they would otherwise have to pay for.
When users Skip Mobile Video Ads
This data is a bit foggy because it gives quarters of the duration. The MMA reports that "more than half of ad skippers stick around until 25% of the ad has played," but they fail to mention what percentage of the ad plays before it is skippable. It could be that the majority of the ads cannot be skipped until 20-25% of the ad has played and therefore it is not exactly a user choice to watch 25%, but a necessity. So should all of these ads be lumped together?
To me, the data says roughly two-thirds of users will skip an ad at or before 50% of the video ad has played. Roughly, three-quarters will skip the video ad before three-quarters of the ad has played.
So while the report does offer some interesting insights, I do see some room for improvement in both its methodology and the way it reports results. However, there is more data in the report which I will look at in another article in the upcoming days.
The MMA, not being a research group, pulled together a wide array of partners to put this report today. Not only did they get ad data from the six MMA members mentioned earlier, they also used ImServices for data aggregation and normalization and analysis from Gerard Broussard from Pre-Meditated Media. They covered 559 million mobile ad impressions, the majority of which were in-app (75%), with 53% being on mobile and 32% on tablet (14% was unknown). iOS was more than 80% of all ads and Android was 18%. Non-skippable ads were the majority at 68%.
Most of the ads were linear video (65%), 17% were interstitial, 15% were value exchange (3% unknown). Over half (56%) were 15 seconds or less, one third were 16-30 seconds and just 8% were longer. The data was pulled from March 2013.
The report can be downloaded from the MMA site (registration required).