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Video Ad Effectiveness: Which Screens Are Working, and Why?

Multi-screen video viewing is here to stay, with a variety of evidence suggesting consumers split their video time between devices including desktop PCs, smartphones, tablets and connected TVs. The dilemma facing advertisers in this multi-screen environment is how to allocate their spending and frequency to maximize results. While there’s no magic formula to multi-screen success, some recent data on video ad effectiveness across screens offers some insight:

Connected TV Ads See the Highest Video Completion Rates
Much of the recent data on completion rates points to the conclusion that video ads displayed in more “lean back” environments (with less interactivity) perform better. This means that ads displayed on connected TVs, an experience which closely mimics the ads seen on traditional television, have seen the highest completion rates.

Completion Rates Also Follow Screen Size
Some of the recent data also suggests bigger screens typically perform better when it comes to completion rates. After connected TVs, video ads viewed on tablets and desktop PCs had the next-highest completion rates, with smartphones coming in fourth. This doesn’t mean mobile video isn’t a good opportunity, however. It simply means consumers aren’t willing to watch ads for as long on a smaller screen.

Smartphones Offer More Video Ad Interactivity
Following on the point above, mobile devices can be a powerful channel for video ads, thanks to their strong ability to foster interaction with viewers. The smaller screen size, coupled with the devices’ touch screens, can offer a more engaging experience which leads to click through. In Extreme Reach’s own review of 2015 digital video campaigns across all clients, smartphone video ads had an average CTR of 0.68% compared to 0.49% on desktop and 0.39% on tablets.

Desktop Video Makes Up the Bulk of Video Impressions (For Now)
In Extreme Reach’s 2015 benchmark data on impressions by device, desktop video made up more than half of all ad impressions served. This was followed by mobile video, which was responsible for another quarter of all 2015 video impressions. As mobile takes up an ever-greater share of consumers’ time-spent, and advertisers invest more in mobile video, ads served to these two devices may eventually end up swapping places.

While advertisers continue to experiment with cross-screen advertising campaigns, it’s important to recognize the differences between formats. Increasingly, it seems that the key is to balance each campaign’s scalability with the need for customization, helping advertisers achieve higher levels of completion and click through activity in the process.