Tremor Video Goes In-Stream Only, Abandoning Banner Ads

CEO cites higher engagement, easier measurability and TV-like buying mechanics

No more banner video for Tremor. The company will announce this afternoon it is moving entirely to in-stream video for the foreseeable future, having phased out its last banner video projects.

Tremor CEO Bill Day told Adweek that the progression is a natural one. Last year, Day said, banner video accounted for a mere 4 percent of its revenue and over the past few months it has worked with legacy clients to move toward in-stream-only ads.

The impetus is a fairly simple one. In-stream video is easier to measure, has much higher engagement than takeovers or banner videos and fits easily with the kind of television-style buying toward which the digital video industry is trying to move.

There are problems with selling TV-style ads on digital platforms, of course. For one thing, there's an expectation (however unrealistic) that since digital buys are served entirely by computers, data on reach, frequency and engagement will be easier to provide. Not so for those first two measurements. Nielsen and comScore rely heavily on panel measurement for their data sets, which are the de-facto industry standard, given the lack of available alternatives.

Day said Tremor would continue to provide a metric that overlays the reach and frequency data, and as both third-party and company-provided data improve, he expects to see deeper co-dependency between TV and digital video. "There's an understanding that panel data is not 100 percent precise, but the point isn't to discredit it," Day said. "The point is to extend it. Beyond reach and frequency, you still have these open questions—did it work, did it make an impact and what kind of an impact did it make?"

Tremor serves video on platforms run by A+E Networks and Viacom—that's A&E, History, Bio, Lifetime, MTV, Comedy Central and Nick at Nite, among others. The company's products emphasize interactivity with the stream in a way that TV can't yet. There's this L'Oréal, spot, for example, where a mouseover triggers a button in the corner; on mobile, the visuals are tweaked accordingly.

Tremor's IPO earlier this summer made headlines, partly because its share price came in lower than expected, but its relationships with big-ticket premium video providers remain solid and its business model just got both simpler and more progressive. The company's S-1 said outright that Tremor "specialize[s] in delivering in-stream video advertisements, which are served to viewers immediately prior to or during the publisher's content when viewers are most engaged. This is in contrast to traditional in-banner video advertising, which is served on the periphery of publisher content where viewers may not be directing their attention."

Now, Tremor is putting its money where its mouth is and focusing entirely on the sector of the digital video world—premium content—that looks most familiar to advertisers. In that same document, the wisdom of focusing on in-stream seemed borne out by the company's financials. As Tremor's revenue derived from banner video decreased, its overall revenue grew. From January to March 2013, revenue was up to $24 million from $15.7 million for the same period in the prior year.

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