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Q1 2020 Video Benchmarks, AdBridge Insights

AdBridge Insights provides a look at trends in Q1 as well as metrics for the CTV share of impressions in April and early May.

Since we began issuing quarterly video benchmark reports in 2016, we’ve seen all kinds of trends rise and fall.

Some of them seemed like seismic shifts at the time. First it was all about mobile and 6 second ads were the format to beat. In the last two years, we’ve seen connected television (CTV) emerge and essentially take over. For a moment it looked like 60-second ads were coming into vogue, then in the blink of an eye, 30-second spots were on top.

In 2019, the pace of change slowed, and in our full-year 2019 Video Benchmarks Report based on aggregated metrics for video ads served from ER’s AdBridge, we closed with a strong statement about how the stabilizing of metrics indicated a maturing industry in which media strategists could now make predictions with a newfound confidence. We expected 2020 to look much the same.

Then came the Coronavirus (COVID-19). As we began preparing the Q1 2020 edition of the report, which provides an industry-wide snapshot of trends across a wide range of brands in multiple categories, we could only assume the pandemic was impacting the media landscape just like it has nearly every other facet of life: without precedent or predictability.

The most dramatic change we see in our Q1 2020 data, is the shift in the share of video ads served to CTV (vs. mobile, tablet and desktop). Despite quarter after quarter of gains, in Q1 2020 we saw video ad impressions on this usually-dominant platform drop to 37 percent of all ad impressions, a decline of over 21 percent from Q4 2019 and the lowest since Q1 2018. To explore whether this rapid change may be correlated to the impact that COVID-19-driven stay-at-home orders have had on consumers’ media viewing behavior, we dug deeper with a look at smaller date ranges. These metrics show that after a highpoint of 48 percent share of impressions in December 2019, the CTV share of total impressions saw a decline to 41 percent in January followed by a drop to 35 percent in February, then a slight increase in March to 36 percent. Then, the period from April 1 – April 15 saw an even further decline in CTV share to 29% and then a rapid rise from April 16 – May 11 up to 42% share of impressions.

That is one of many findings. We’ve noted in the past that the still-evolving digital video advertising ecosystem keeps all of us at ER on our toes, and this quarter is certainly no exception. We’re fortunate to serve and measure digital video campaigns that play on a wide variety of media outlets, and we hope our industry benchmarks provide some helpful insights during these challenging times.

Download the full report, which also gives you access to our trend file that provides a snapshot of quarterly metrics dating back to Q1 2016.