The Near Future of Digital Video Advertising Is the 30-Second Spot

/ Dec 6, 2013

30Secondspot

The future of online video advertising may be something other than the 30-second spot, but for the foreseeable future, this format is here to stay (and will likely continue to dominate).

Video ad monetization company FreeWheel, which released its Q3 Video Monetization Report this week, says that digital video ads have reached a “monetization inflection point” — there is now one video ad view for every video view on digital platforms. (FreeWheel’s data is based on an analysis of 15 billion video ad views attached to professionally produced, rights-managed content — so it’s not representing the entire online video space, just the “premium” side that advertisers claim to care about.)

According to FreeWheel, this inflection point is as result of traditional media programmers continuing to move long-form content to digital platforms, as well as “increased pre-roll monetization” on short-form content.

And right now, the top digital video ad format on these types of content is the one you’re most used to seeing on television — the 30-second spot. FreeWheel reports that nearly 50% of ads in front of short-form content are now 30 seconds long, versus 65% of ads attached to long-form content.

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Even with this growth in ad length, completion rates continue to remain flat, across all content lengths, as you can see below:

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It also doesn’t matter which type of video programmer/publisher is distributing the content. Per FreeWheel, programmers and MVPDs (aka: the TV guys) accounted for 52.9% of digital video ad views during Q3, while “Digital Pure-Plays” (aka: the online video guys) accounted for 47.1%. And again, a lot of those ad views are occurring on 30-second spots.

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It’s not exactly rocket science for the why the 30-second format is prevalent online. It’s the one advertisers are used to. And if you’re a content provider trying to sell them on your “premium content,” whether that’s something ported from television or something you developed yourself for the web that “looks” like television, then you might as well create an ad experience that functions like television.

Among the other interesting findings in the Monetization Report, Digital Pure-Play publishers are monetizing their video content largely from syndication. Syndicated viewing accounted for 63% of Digital Pure-Play video views in Q3, versus only 10% for the traditional media guys.

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