Online Ad Viewers Need 3 Seconds to ID Brand

A new study highlights the online video viewability issue brought to center stage by some of the broadcast networks during their upfront presentations last week.

The study, by media buying software firm STRATA, found that 75% of viewers need at least three seconds to identify a brand or product in online video ads, longer than the two-second standard the Media Rating Council is working with.

The study found that just 25% of viewers could identify advertised brands in 1 to 2 second, while 44% said it took at least four second to recognize a product in an ad.

Online video has become increasingly popular with marketers, stealing ad dollars from traditional TV. Marketers like online video because they think it can be targeted more precisely and because they get more data about who saw the ad and what their reaction was.

But media buyers and advertisers have been discovering that data about online video views might not be as clear as they’d like because across most of the industry the standard for a viewable ad impression is if 50% of the pixels are in view for at least two seconds.

TV ads tend to occupy the full screen, and when viewers use DVR to skip or fast-forward through ads, they don’t count in the ratings.

Ad skipping was also an issue in the STRATA study, which found that 41% of viewer hit the “skip this ad” button before they recognized the product being advertised. 

Respondents said they skipped online ads because they were in a hurry (40%), because they’d seen the same ad repeatedly (20%), the ad was too long (15%) or the ad was not targeted and relevant (12%).

“The challenge of measuring viewability across different vendors and multiple screens is an on-going challenge, but an agreed upon standard across the industry will help determine ROI and ad effectiveness over time,” Joy Baer, president of STRATA, said.  “This is an important issue for our media buying and selling clients and we are committed to supporting its evolution in our systems.”

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.