Video Ad Impressions Reach Record Numbers in March 2012

Video Ad Impressions Reach Record Numbers in March 2012

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Toot the tooters and clink the clinkers, honk the honkers and hoot the hooters, it’s comScore video metrix time again. OK, maybe skip the hooters. Did you know that 181 million Americans watched video online in March? Did you know that online video advertising impressions surpassed 8 Billion impressions for the first time on record? Well, you do now! Let’s roll into the details!

As always, these are only the companies that are working with comScore, which leaves out quite a few actually. If you were to ask, say Nielsen… the numbers might shake out differently. Not much though. In January, for comparison, YouTube was on top, Yahoo! second, VEVO third, Microsoft 4th and Facebook fifth.

March 2012 Online Video Consumption

First and foremost, in the comScore Video Metrix for March 2012 the number one video site on the ‘net was….bah you know who. GooTube continues domination with some 146 million unique visitors watching some 15,75 billion videos (now remember, for comScore that means each segment of video broken up by ads and playing for 3 seconds or more) for a whopping 424.6 minutes per viewer.

In comparison to February, overall viewers were up by 2 million though videos were down around 820 million and there was one less minute per viewer in March. The only changes in the top ten places were the bottom four where Microsoft, Comcast NBCU and Hulu each dropped one, Turner jumped up three to 7th.

Top U.S. Online Video Content Properties Ranked by Unique Video Viewers
March 2012
Total U.S. – Home and Work Locations
Content Videos Only (Ad Videos Not Included)
Source: comScore Video Metrix
PropertyTotal Unique Viewers (000)Videos (000)*Minutes per Viewer
Total Internet : Total Audience181,06236,984,8721,304.8
Google Sites146,09715,748,884424.6
Yahoo! Sites60,609814,83872.4
Viacom Digital44,251547,73263.2
AOL, Inc.43,701496,41550.3
Turner Digital42,917288,88724.8
Microsoft Sites41,169494,52946.7
Comcast NBCUniversal32,164178,18936.9

*A video is defined as any streamed segment of audiovisual content, including both progressive downloads and live streams. For long-form, segmented content, (e.g. television episodes with ad pods in the middle) each segment of the content is counted as a distinct video stream.

Video Advertising Stats & Video Ad Networks Compared

On to the good stuff, the video advertising! Wait, that’s not the good stuff… At least it’s my favorite part.  First off, according to Comscore, video ad impressions topped 8 billion for the first time on record.

Last month, and perhaps for a few months running, Brightroll has been taking the top spot in my “where should you put your video ads” portion of this monthly piece. Let’s find out if they keep that top spot this month as well shall we? For comparison, last month was Brightroll, Specific Media and

Hulu takes the top spot again with 1.75 billion ads (when is it too much?!) and some 50.7 ads per viewer, again, generally the same ad over and over again which causes me to block them all out. I even stopped telling ad tailor what applies to me because the ads never change! On top of that, Hulu would not tell me even a ballpark CPM figure. So they now fall into the if you have to ask, you can’t afford it category and are a definite no fly zone for advertisers.

So where should you place your video ads? In terms of reach, none can compare to Brightroll you bumped themselves up 4% this month over last. While that increased their ad frequency as well it’s still single digits and since they’re showing 589 million minutes of video ads per month, it means their technology infrastructure is large and stable, so they nab top spot. However, Specific Media is really putting the crunch on Brightroll coming in only 5% below them in reach and a half-an-ad lower in frequency. They too clearly have the right stuff as they pushed out 775 million video ads in March. Looking back to previous months, I think we going to have a serious fight for first next month.

Third place is always a bit more challenging and to decide who get it, we must venture out of the realm of single digit ad frequency. Google seems to be trying hard with their 24.2% reach, but they’re pushing 17.2 ad onto each viewer., who took third last month and has about the same reach as Google with 24.3% but a much lower ad frequency, 12.0 which gives them, once again, the third spot on my ad placement suggestion list.

Now I know someone out there is probably going to be cross with me because they’ve got lower ad frequency, TubeMogul and Auditude namely, but they just haven’t got the reach, 16.2 and 13.9% respectively, to compete with those top three…yet. Tubemogul did tack on 2% reach this month, but also 3.1 ads/viewer. Auditude added 1.1% reach and just 0.4 ads/viewer but at that rate they’d hit 24% reach and have about 15 ads/viewer. Both are also showing far less ads than the others, coming in near the bottom of the top ten in that category.

Top US Online Video Advertising Properties

Top U.S. Online Video Ad Properties Ranked by Video Ads* Viewed
March 2012
Total U.S. – Home and Work Locations
Ad Videos Only (Content Videos Not Included)
Source: comScore Video Metrix
PropertyVideo Ads (000)Total Ad Minutes (MM)Frequency (Ads per Viewer)% Reach Total U.S. Population
Total Internet : Total Audience8,370,4923,54553.451.2
Google Sites1,269,46512917.224.2
BrightRoll Video Network**953,2345898.536.4
Specific Media**775,5303588.031.6
Tremor Video**675,98336613.616.2
TubeMogul Video Ad Platform**537,18018510.816.2
Auditude, Inc.**466,42319510.913.9
CBS Interactive415,65219217.87.6

*Video ads include streaming-video advertising only and do not include other types of video monetization, such as overlays, branded players, matching banner ads, etc.
**Indicates video ad network
†Indicates video ad exchange

Top 10 YouTube Partner Channels by Unique Viewers

Finally, that which I don’t care all that much about because the numbers mean nothing really. But wait, that’s not true. Now that YouTube is starting to offer both channel sponsorship and cost-per-view for ads these might start coming into play far more than I used to think. Remember, there are just 181 million Americans watching video online. So if you are reaching, say, 49 million, that’s about 27% of them. Even if you’re looking to just raise your brand awareness you could do worse than sponsoring a channel with content like Maker Studios or FullScreen which are each reaching almost 10% of the online US audience.

These numbers could also be helpful if I were to use them for say, prognosticating on YouTube revenue. Since these are all Partner channels (I wonder how this will change now that Partners is open to all), it means there are ads running on them. If we total up the ads here we get about 1.62 billion ads.

With a single ad on each video and a CPM of $2 (HA!) it turns into $3.25 billion dollars. If YouTube is taking just 30% it’s round about $1B and at 40% it’s closer to $1.3B. And that’s just on the top ten Partner channels. So when people ask me what I think about YouTube revenue, I could point them at this. Sure, the CPM is probably much closer to $5-10 minimum and I’m assuming one ad per video average which could be high, or low depending on if the ad inventory is sold out or if they’re selling multiple ads per video.

Top YouTube Partner Channels* Ranked by Unique Video Viewers
March 2012
Total U.S. – Home and Work Locations
Content Videos Only (Ad Videos Not Included)
Source: comScore Video Metrix
PropertyTotal Unique Viewers (000)Videos (000)Minutes per Viewer
VEVO @ YouTube49,090669,86762.5
Warner Music @ Youtube30,255195,88328.4
Machinima @ YouTube22,892378,75869.0
Maker Studios Inc. @ YouTube14,635161,88247.6
FullScreen @ YouTube11,95657,96920.2
BroadbandTV @ YouTube8,45240,24617.7
Big Frame @ YouTube8,01344,32521.5
Warner Bros (The Ellen Show) @ YouTube7,37238,89221.1
Schmooru @ YouTube6,99122,12015.4
Clevvertv @ YouTube6,71813,4558.1

*YouTube Partner Reporting based on online video content viewing and does not include claimed user-generated content

Other notable findings from March 2012 include:

  • 83.5 percent of the U.S. Internet audience viewed online video.
  • The duration of the average online content video was 6.4 minutes, while the average online video ad was 0.4 minutes.
  • Video ads accounted for 18.5 percent of all videos viewed and 1.5 percent of all minutes spent viewing video online.

So, average online content length was up slightly (0.2 minutes) with ad length hanging steady. Ads did account for 1.9% more than last month and an additional 0.2% of time spent.


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