Big Data & AnalyticsManagement

The key to successful video ads

By David Godfrey

It took Bitmovin a bit longer than expected to realise more about how much cool stuff that can be measured about video ads and their performance. It has finally launched its new Analytics Ads Dashboard in its Bitmovin Dashboard.

Advertising is a controversial topic for most people, but the reality is that today’s Internet would not be the same without advertising and how it impacts our daily lives.

Compared to traditional advertising, online advertising has huge benefits for advertisers and consumers alike. Targeting a specific audience to ensure ad dollars are wisely spent is a huge deal. So instead of having a large audience watch the same ad on linear TV and just hoping that the intended target audience is watching, targeted online video can specifically target just a few people who are most likely to convert, and who may also find value in the ad being shown to them. It’s a better experience all around.

When advertising works, it is a win-win for both advertiser and consumer. But the unfortunate truth is that video experiences on the Internet are sometimes less than stellar. When we do fall short of that ideal goal of relevant, technically flawless presentation, customers not only get really annoyed with the ads but also with the whole experience.

The key to successful ads
Imagine spending 10 seconds starring at a blank screen while the ad servers try to figure out what ad to display, just to then finally see a barely working ad presented in terrible video quality. Chances are the actual content following that experience starts out at a pretty big deficit.

Making sure that ads presented on a platform are working, presented in a timely manner and relevant to users is a huge deal nowadays. Better performing ads also tend to generate more conversions, so knowing which ad systems and ad types work best for that platform is also hugely beneficial.

So keeping an eye on ad performance is quite critical, especially if big parts of the revenue comes from video advertising.

Unfortunately, in most cases users might be limited to the tools provided by their ad servers, and even worse they might have to check multiple sources to get an accurate picture of what is going on. Add in the inherent complexity of online video and advertising workflows, and they quickly get overwhelmed.

Bitmovin Analytics is built to provide visibility into video workflow by showing actionable intelligence about the platform health. Adding in advertising analytics was a logical next step.

Our initial thoughts were that while video ads are more constrained, they are still in essence videos and the technical challenges are largely the same. Or at least so we thought.

Understanding ad performance in real time
We were wrong – not about the video ads being essentially videos, but more about how much cool stuff that can measure about video ads and their performance. So it took a bit longer than expected, but we are really proud to announce our new Analytics Ads Dashboard that just launched in our Bitmovin Dashboard.

So what did we come up with? First off, we had to cross off all the standard things users would expect to see in their analytics solution: Number of ad impressions, completion rates, and click-through rates (CTR).

But where it gets really interesting is with our ability to break down all of these metrics – and slice and dice it to get to exactly the data users want to see.

For example, look at completion rates overall based on country of origin in relation to ad technologies used. Or whether or not users actually saw the ad (time in viewport), if users see this becoming a problem then they can start making changes to the design of their site to avoid this.

Maximising ad monetisation
Another thing which obviously is hugely impactful is looking at all the reasons why some impressions were not monetised. It can be very helpful to see how many times their audience failed to load an ad software development kit (SDK), or how many times the ad server returned an invalid/unparsable manifest – especially if the user is running on its own internal ad server that waterfalls to external ones.

Optimising ad waterfalling
Another obvious target for optimisation is the ad click rate as well as the position the ad was clicked on. Companies would obviously want to prioritise ads that have high click-through rates, and thus generate revenue, while resorting to ad servers that have very low click-through rates only at the very end of the chain.

The more ad servers are involved in your ad waterfall, the longer it usually takes for the user to load. So optimising ad water falling is a key factor in improving the user’s experience on your platform.

But even just breaking down click rates by ad position can also be a huge help. If the audience responds much better to mid-rolls, then why would a company take the hefty performance penalty of doing a pre-roll before they were able to pique their interest?

Get started with Bitmovin‘s Ad Analytics
Using the new ads feature is quite simple and requires no special configuration. Users can login to their Bitmovin account to deploy the Analytics collector to their website, and deploy the new code. No special configuration is required, aside from the Bitmovin analytics configuration.

For users already using Bitmovin Analytics, they can upgrade their analytics collector to v2.1 (and Bitmovin Player v8.1). Once data shows up, they can just head over to the Dashboard and click the ads to explore all the new metrics coming in about the audience.

Obviously, this is just the beginning. Like with every product, we have built a flexible API that allows for a lot of use cases we might not have even thought about. Give it a try and let us know what you think. We can’t wait to see what cool use cases this will enable for users!

To find out more, visit

David Godfrey is vice-president and general manager, Asia-Pacific, at Bitmovin. 

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