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What ER’s Q1 Video Benchmarks Tell Us About CTV’s Impact on Digital Advertising

CTV advertising has reached a tipping point, according to ER’s Q1 2019 Video Benchmark report. Fueled by the platform’s surging popularity among consumers and the strong performance it offers advertisers, CTV now accounts for nearly half of all impressions served.

The report, based on Q1 2019 performance metrics from our AdBridge™ proprietary video ad server, offers brands and agencies timely data on click-through, completion and viewability rates for video ads that will help them make more strategic ad investments in an era of ongoing digital disruption. Here are a few of the quarter’s most significant takeaways.

I Want My CTV
The CTV-driven transformation is an outgrowth of consumers’ continuing embrace of nonlinear TV formats. According to Nielsen, 68 percent of U.S. households had a connected TV device (e.g., Roku, Apple TV) by Q3 2018. With OTT advertising budgets still representing only 3 percent of TV ad spend, brands have the opportunity to increase campaign returns by investing more heavily in CTV, especially as the targeting and measurement technologies in the CTV arena get more sophisticated and effective. It’s no wonder then that Magna Global predicts a 30-plus percent growth rate for both 2019 and 2020.

Premium Performance
Staying in front of consumers as they adopt new viewing practices is not the only reason brands are forging ahead with CTV. As our Video Benchmark reports have shown repeatedly, video completion rates for ads on CTV continue to perform better than those of all other platforms—in fact, in Q1 2019 they hit the highest number ever at 97%.

Premium Publishers Score
The rise of CTV is also lifting up the sell side of the media-buying equation by making it easier for publishers to capitalize on multi-channel content consumption and optimize the value of their highly-targeted, measurable audiences. CTV inventory is sold to brands almost exclusively by premium publishers and this has driven up the percentage of overall impressions served to those sites. In Q1, 82 percent of video impressions served by ER ran on premium sites and the completion rates for those publishers hit a record high of 93 percent, a year over year increase of 8 percent from Q1 2018.

The Rise of One- and Two-Minute Ads
As noted in prior benchmark reports, the growth of CTV and its mostly unskippable ad inventory is driving a shift to longer ad lengths. In Q1, 30-second ads accounted for 69 percent of all ads, an 18 percent increase over the prior quarter. This suggests that even longer ads—those of 60-seconds plus—will become more prevalent in the future, offering brands new storytelling formats for engaging consumers.

New Times Call for More Measures
The Q1 report marks the addition of six new benchmarks for ER which will help advertisers gain even more insight into the performance of their video ad strategies. Data on metrics for the In-View Start Rate, In-View Completion Rate, Audible Start Rate, Audible Completion Rate, Average Duration In-View and Average Duration Audible will be provided in the Q2 2019 Benchmarks Report.

The proliferation of nonlinear TV formats offers an upside for consumers, publishers and advertisers alike. For brands it’s now a matter of making the right balance of investments across all platforms—digital and linear—to keep front of mind and deep in the heart of today’s viewers.

The full report can be found here.