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Ads in the Age of Quarantine

Ads in the Age of Quarantine

There is no doubt that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has adversely impacted the digital advertising industry, as the demand side has seen massive budget cuts, canceled campaigns, and halted spending, estimated by the IAB to be about a 25% decrease. Brands in travel and leisure have been particularly hard hit as many expected under the current circumstances. With demand for available inventory suffering, ad supported businesses have also had to adjust to the new reality. However, as we wait for the world to slowly but surely emerge from the recession, there are some strategies publishers and media businesses can use to mitigate the setbacks. With help from our analytics partner, WatchingThat, we discussed a few of these in a video discussion that you can find on PLAY TV

Hit pause on autoplay

Many AVOD businesses are relying on autoplay videos to boost the total views and consequently, ad impressions. However, this can sometimes be problematic due to the multitude of ad errors and viewability issues autoplay often brings. For example, as browsers have different rules around when and how autoplay is allowed to function it is very difficult to say with any measure of certainty that a given autoplayed ad will work the same way across every platform and browser. In addition, muted autoplay has the potential to create viewability problems if not managed carefully. For example, this can occur when  a video fails to load properly when trying to autoplay on a poor connection, or if a user may scroll past an autoplaying video in an article page. Errors lead to a lower fill rate and poor viewability only compounds that while decreasing potential CPM. In a time when ad spend is down, it is wise to shift focus to click to play implementations to ensure that you are getting the most out of every single video view. A click to play implementation is almost always more stable and (as overall demand is lower) publishers may not have the ability to fill the extra impressions autoplay may have generated regardless. 

Focus on what sells

Brand safety remains a top priority, now more than ever, for advertisers and their agencies. It is critical for AVOD businesses to identify the content that is most attractive to the buyer while recognizing that some sensitive topics can draw in viewers but may not necessarily be of interest to the advertiser. Of course, the reverse can also be true, which is why it is important to continually evaluate your content performance and work with your demand partners to focus areas of high yield. In other words, while a video pertaining to the epidemic may have large viewership, the same content may struggle to maintain a high fill rate. However, you might discover that your social or sports content performs far better in an open auction. This can help guide focus for your video production and editorial teams. There are a variety of tools publishers may leverage to identify the most desirable content - while naturally brings us to our third tip. 

Continually assess performance and be ready to act

2020 has brought many trials and tribulations, but one cardinal rule of video advertising has stayed the same - an AVOD business needs access to clear and actionable analytical insight which it must continually assess and be ready to act. Brightcove Analytics can help a publisher determine which videos perform the best with your viewership while Google Ad Manager features granular and customizable reporting tools that will do the same for your ad metrics. However, the best method is to combine both sets of data, which is where our partner, WatchingThat, has proven to be invaluable. The platform will aggregate ad and content performance data into live, customizable dashboards that allow a publisher to get as deep or as broad as they need to with their analytics. Ad Ops teams can access a wealth of information on a regular basis while being alerted to any undesirable trends, such as a high autoplay error rate. This allows your business to respond quickly and ensure that any damage to your revenue stream remains minimal. 

There is no doubt the world is different from just a few months ago, but we are already seeing many of our AVOD customers successfully persevere and recover their video advertising revenue streams. Measures such as temporarily moving away from autoplay, identifying high yield content, and acting on analytical insight are all a direct result of their experiences. 

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