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Social Sites Not as Video Ad Friendly as Content, E-mail

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Digital media buyers may want to think twice about where they place online video ads—as social networking and gaming sites don’t measure up to content sites and email when it comes to user engagement.

That’s according to a new wide-ranging report produced by third-party ad server Eyeblaster, which examined data from thousands of campaigns it executed for brands over the past year encompassing billions of impressions. Specifically the report focused on two metrics deemed key by Eyeblaster analysts: Dwell Rate--which measures the proportion of ad impressions that resulted in a user engaging with an ad, such as mousing over it or clicking on it—and Dwell Time—which measure the amount of time users spend engaged with a particular ad.

Eyeblaster found that overall, online video boosts both Dwell Rate and Dwell Time when compared to other forms of online advertising. However, online video tends to perform better when adjacent to content or email than in social media and gaming environments—both areas that have enjoyed major spikes in usage over the past five years, resulting in increased interest from advertisers.

Given social networking sites’ challenges with monetization, it’s perhaps not surprising that users are less inclined to engage with video ads. Yet sharing video is becoming more and more a key component of these sites. Ariel Geifman, research analyst at Eyeblaster, said the company was somewhat surprised by their findings.

“What we found is that people browse social networks really quickly,” he said. “People spend a lot of time in social networks, but it’s not on the same Web page.”

The result is that auto start video ads don’t often have a chance to actually start, and that people have few opportunities to stop and linger like they do on content sites. “Its not about the mindset,” Geifman said. “It’s the browsing habits. People don’t browse as they do in news and finance where they read an article and have more time to look at and ad.”

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