Video Ad Engagement Metrics Are Changing & Consumer Choice Is A Factor

Video Ad Engagement Metrics Are Changing & Consumer Choice Is A Factor

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There’s a new report out from eMarketer called “7 Trends for Video Advertising Engagement.” It’s a 23-page affair examining the ins and outs of video marketing engagement—how to engage viewers, how to measure engagement levels, and much more. It’s exhaustive on the topic of online video engagement, that there’s entirely too much good data to summarize in one article, but that’s why you really should buy their report. So consider this Part 1 of our thoughts on the report, with Part 2 to follow shortly.

The world of online display advertising is in a state of flux. Advertising dollars are shifting from traditional banner ads, and even from rich media ads, to video. By 2014, video will claim almost 40% of the entire online display ad market.

As video continues to grow in online ad spending and production, advertisers are beginning to seek out more data for their dollar. It’s not enough to simply have a total number of video views, because viewers have demonstrated so many different levels of engagement during a “view.” Brands want to know that their video is actually impacting viewers in terms of attention and interest.

So we find ourselves here, with 7 Trends for Video Advertising Engagement, as eMarketer attempts to answer some key questions on the subject:

  • What are the primary metrics for measuring engagement?
  • Do the sites where a video campaign runs influence engagement?
  • What types of targeting best foster engagement?
  • How can sponsored video content create engagement?
  • How do consumer control, viral ads and social media work together to enhance engagement?

It’s important to understand how relative much of this stuff is. Video engagement can mean a hundred different things–watching the ad, starting the ad, clicking on the ad, finishing the ad, etc.–and the report reminds us that there are also three distinct genres of online video ads: in-stream video ads (like pre-roll or post-roll), in-banner video ads, and branded video content (viral video). These different factors and definitions are part of why the report is so detailed and in-depth.

Now that we’ve set the stage a little bit, let’s dive into the first few major trends identified by the eMarketer report:

Trend 1: Video Ad Metrics Indicate Engagement

The very simple meaning of this first trend is that traditional measurements for online video aren’t fitting the bill for advertisers anymore, and they’re starting to demand more metrics. Many of the metrics most desired by advertisers are tougher to gauge.

Advertisers have typically only able to measure engagement in two ways: server-based metrics and survey-based metrics. They either know the engagement levels from the data the server can provide–video starts, time-spent watching, etc–or they know the engagement levels from the mouths of consumers themselves, in the form of survey data. While those have worked for a time, and have their good qualities, brands want more information.

Here are the most-important metrics right now for brands spending money in online video advertising:

So now we’re starting to see all sorts of creative research on video ad effectiveness, as brands attempt to find out whether the video is being: shared on social networks, commented on by YouTube users, emailed to friends, Tweeted, and much more.

Expect to see the most important video metric of the past few years–“views,” which has been through several definitions itself–go the way of the dinosaur. Engagement, and all the many things that it can mean, is the new standard moving forward. Are viewers enjoying the ad–what’s they’re emotional attachment to it? Are they sharing the ad–what’s the buzz level surrounding it?

Trend 2: Website Choices Help Boost Engagement

In generic terms: because there are so many different options and sources for consumers to find video content of multiple varieties, overall engagement levels are on the rise, as brands figure out the best distribution methods and locations for their material.

eMarketer references some recent comScore data to point out that YouTube still dominates online video in terms of viewers:

But YouTube, which mostly deals with in-stream ads like pre-roll and mid-roll, only really dominates engagement levels on things like completion rate or brand health. YouTube viewers aren’t as likely to click an ad on a YouTube video.

On the other hand, YouTube isn’t number one for full-length TV and movie content. They used to be, but not anymore:

And Hulu scores higher engagement numbers with the brands–for some types of engagement like long-term brand awareness–because it’s kind of a known-entity–the experience at Hulu is more similar to the traditional television advertising method, and therefore more comfortable for brands and viewers.

The conclusion, then, is that brands would be wise to diversify their online video ads in order to reach higher levels of engagement across the many different metrics.


In summary, ad metrics are changing and evolving to try and keep up with the constant growth in online video–and because brands need more assurance that their ad is having an impact. As the metrics grow and shift, we also have viewer options growing, which adds yet another wrinkle for the advertisers to keep track of–where a viewer finds a video can directly impact their engagement level.

We’ll be back soon with Part 2 of our coverage of eMarketer’s 7 Trends For Video Advertising Engagement, in which we’ll take a look at how ad targeting influences engagement and how longer ads can extend it.

You can get a full copy of the report here @$695 from eMarketer – and it’s well worth it.


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