What’s wrong with video advertising and how to fix it

Video advertising holds so much promise, but it’s being severely hampered by everything from a dearth of choice ad spots to a surplus of fraud.

I’ll spell out fixes we should implement in a moment. First, here are some of the problems:


A lot of video ad platforms say they can provide the scale brands need in premium digital video, but in truth there isn’t enough quality pre-roll video inventory to go around.

The situation is especially dire in mobile. When you watch video on the desktop, you often see a pre-roll ad. On mobile, not so much. Publishers are reluctant to put ads in front of their video content on smaller screens.

Poor environments

A lot of brands are finding out when they check data from their tracking partners that a lot of the ads in their big media buys are showing up on very poor quality sites.


By one account, more than 50 per cent of video advertising is in non-viewable environments.


The rate of non-human traffic is rising in video advertising. According to the Association of National Advertisers, Ad Fraud may cost advertisers $7.2billion in fraudulent impressions in 2016. This is up nearly a full billion dollars from 2015.


There’s been a huge rise in the rate of ad blocking software installed, imperiling publishers’ ability to support their operations and marketers’ ability to reach people in premium environments.

Some solutions

Now that we’ve established the lack of quality inventory, questionable placements and fraud, what can digital advertising companies do to help make things right?

Put user experience first

If we think of the media consumer in everything we do, we’ll win. Don’t needlessly interrupt people. Don’t slow their devices. Creating a positive experience means replacing user irritation with favorable feelings towards brand messages. Plus, ad blocking will decline.

Give users choice

Don’t force people to watch ads. Allow them to exit an ad experience at any time. A recent Teads’ study found that 80 per cent of people would reconsider using ad blockers if given the choice to skip or scroll past ads. Plus, the person who doesn’t exit the ad experience has shown interest. The ads’ performance therefore increases for brands.

Change marketers and publishers only for fully viewable ads

Marketers shouldn’t have to pay for ads that can’t be seen. Charging them only for verified views will slash the number of non-viewable placements and help bring pricing in line with expectations. That will help publishers better support their operations while assuring marketers that people are seeing their messages.

Price by intention

Price ads according to publishers’ and marketers’ needs, be that CPM (cost per thousand served impressions) or cost-per-completed view. We’ve found that CPCV drives improved ad performance.

Guarantee quality inventory

Provide only quality inventory on verified publishers’ pages. The subset of this point is that digital advertising companies should secure ad spots only from top-tier publishers who do everything they can to prevent fraud.

Use lightweight technology

Have teams of great engineers to assure ad players that won’t weigh down pages and that integrate with Google AMP and any other important mobile frameworks. Again, devices will work better and ad blocking will decline.

Don’t demand that pre-roll be used for videos ads

Thinking that we need video ads to run in video content is a vestige of old media thinking. Our screens today are multi-purpose environments that can handle text, sound, video and interactivity. Forcing a media consumer to watch a pre-roll advertisement before seeing editorial content creates a bad user experience.

Use outstream

Outstream ads that appear in the heart of editorial content and put the user in control is the industry’s best solution. They open up a wealth of new premium inventory. They let the user skip or scroll past, ensuring a great user experience that provides great engagement for the brand for consumers who do watch the ad.

Video is exploding. Video advertising can, too. We just have to get our priorities right.

Jim Daily, President USA and Canada, Teads.

Tel: (+1) 646 560-8900

Email: [email protected]



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