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Premium vs. Aggregated Video Ads: What’s the Difference?

The proliferating range of video inventory offers advertisers and media buyers lots of options, but raises many questions too. This is particularly true when it comes to premium video (purchased directly with a publisher) and aggregated video (purchased through a network or exchange that offers access to many publishers with one buy). Are video ads on premium sites really worth the extra money? Do campaigns using media aggregators save money and obtain greater reach while still delivering metrics that match the performance of premium video sites? A look at Extreme Reach’s 2015 video metrics comparing viewability and invalid traffic for these two types of inventory provides some compelling insight into these questions.

How does premium video compare with aggregated video when it comes to viewability? Extreme Reach’s 2015 client campaigns show that an average of 55% of premium digital video campaigns were considered “viewable” (referring to campaigns where at least 50% of the video was “in view” for a minimum of 2 consecutive seconds). This is in comparison to just 43% of media aggregator campaigns which met this same viewable standard. It’s important to note here that campaigns purchased via media aggregators can save clients money while still meeting campaign objectives. However, this viewability differential makes sense, as many aggregators buy and serve on sites without a large, featured video player, instead shifting video ads into 300×250 or other “in-banner” placements that often sit on the bottom or in corners of a website.

Invalid Traffic
How do aggregators and premium video providers compare when it comes to invalid traffic? This suspected bot traffic can wreak havoc on advertiser campaigns, forcing them to pay for impressions never seen by consumers. Extreme Reach filters all video traffic using “invalid” traffic (IVT) guidelines set by the IAB and MRC. For 2015, the average invalid traffic filtering rate across all Extreme Reach client campaigns (covering both premium and aggregator video) was 12.74%. Premium video campaigns fell below this average, seeing a filtering rate of just 5.19% for 2015, while media aggregators had an average of 23.33% of impressions filtered. Of course these numbers are averages. To give you an example of the high end: Extreme Reach has seen campaigns where as much as 49% of impressions served on aggregator sites have been filtered out by Extreme Reach’s proprietary filtration practices due to invalid traffic.  

As you can see from just these initial metrics, there is a significant difference in performance between premium and aggregated digital video campaigns. While both formats have their pros and cons, it’s food for thought for any advertiser or buyer thinking about how to allocate their video media dollars in the year ahead.