Opinion: Viewable Video Completion Rate – a video metric for the future

Nawaf Ghansar, Senior Client Partner of Httpool for APAC region writes how video advertising metrics initially focussed on CTR (click-through rates) and CPCV (cost per completed view) but has now evolved to different measurement parameters.

Video advertising has come a long way in the digital ecosystem. It started with running in-stream ads on video publishers like YouTube and Dailymotion and moved to out-stream video formats so even non-video publishers could offer and monetize video ads. Then came tech platforms that offered more significant reach because they had video inventory across various publishers. Now we have OTT (over-the-top) platforms that offer video ads too. All in all, video ads share in the digital media pie has grown tremendously over the last few years and will continue to do so in the years to come. There are 356 million mobile video viewers in India, according to InMobi’s State of Programmatic Mobile Video Advertising in India research.

While advertisers were initially happy to look at the only cost per reach from their video campaigns, they slowly but surely started to look at factors beyond reach. They looked at metrics like CTR’s (click-through rates) and CPCV (cost per completed view). Publishers started to optimize their campaigns to meet these metrics, and advertisers were happy with the low eCPCV’s they were getting.

What some people didn’t realize was in haste to meet the demand, publishers found a loophole and took steps like making video ads non-skippable to drive lower eCPCV’s or higher VCRs (Video Completion Rate). But is VCR an accurate metric of whether an individual has seen the ad?

As mentioned earlier, VCR can be tweaked by making the user forcefully view the ad or allowing the ad to run in the background even though the ad is not fully visible. While the forced view of ads is a problem for users and is a topic in itself, let’s focus on partially viewed video ads. As an advertiser, would you ever pay for a TV spot where your video commercial is not fully visible or buy an outdoor hoarding that is covered by a tree? Probably not; then why are advertisers ok with paying for video ads on digital where it’s not entirely viewable? They have been informed that they meet the regulatory bodies’ norms, like IAB’s viewability norm, which states that the ad should be 50% viewable for 2 consecutive seconds.

Looking at the example below, can you make out the brand from this ad?

I think not!

This is why advertisers globally have been moving to a more superior metric to measure their video campaigns: Viewable Video Completion Rates or V2CR. This metric does not give a lopsided view to the advertiser concerning their video campaigns. It looks at two essential metrics in tandem: VCR (Video Completion Rate) and Viewability.

V2CR = Viewability * VCR

What this means is, if, let’s say, the viewability of your video ad campaign was 50%, and the VCR was 80%, the Viewable Video Completion Rate is 40%. Most publishers do not measure this metric or disclose it to the advertisers. This is because the inevitable truth of the quality of the video campaigns will come out: the quality of video views is very, very poor. Some of the biggest video platforms in the industry have a V2CR benchmark of around 40%-50%.

To all the Digital Marketing Managers, I ask you this: while your video advertising partner must be driving very low eCPCV’s for you, what is the quality of video view they are driving?