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How to Measure Mobile Video Viewability (Without Slowing Performance)

Joel Kirk
Joel Kirk
Marketing Manager, North America
5 min read
Posted on July 31, 2017
How to Measure Mobile Video Viewability (Without Slowing Performance)

The advertising industry has seen an explosion of mobile video consumption in recent years. In fact, mobile represents 93% of users’ time consuming media on connected devices — such as cell phones, smart TVs, and tablets — according to a 2016 eMarketer study. We’ve also seen major advancements in mobile advertising, from new formats to interactive capabilities and more.

However, measuring mobile viewability is still extremely limited. Many brand marketers wonder how to measure viewable impressions on mobile without sacrificing media performance.

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On one hand, you can utilize the Video Player Ad Interface Definition (VPAID) to host your videos, which lets you track information on your users’ behavior thanks to browser-based cookies. But then your load time is slow, as a user’s mobile phone must dredge up an advertisement from the user’s mobile browser.

(In fact, InMobi found in a study that VPAID browser-based ads have a load time of up to 2.6 seconds. Of course, most users will abandon the ad after two seconds.) With a slow load time, viewability and completion rates are both severely lessened.

On the other hand, you could use the Video Ad Serving Template (VAST) to ensure a quick load time — since this method loads video using the device’s native video player. In fact, VAST ads load within 0.06 seconds, according to InMobi data. But, unfortunately, many advertisers feel limited by the insights they can gather with VAST, since they can no longer rely on browser-based cookies.

As a result, many advertisers feel that they must make a hard choice: independent measurement for mobile video, or high-performance ads?

Thankfully, you can have the best of both worlds, if you implement the right technologies for your mobile video advertisements.

Let’s dive in:

Use VAST, not VPAID, with an SDK integration

Media performance is key to your mobile video campaigns. After all, it’s 2017, and your users expect immersive, quick-loading video content.

With VAST technology, you pull up video content from the device’s native video player. This allows you to also pre-cache a video on the device and provide a buffer-free video experience, so your viewability metrics can reflect the ad itself — not its load time.

And if you use the device’s media player, you lose your ability to track users with browser-based cookies. Thankfully, there is a solution to integrate analytics into your VAST advertisements.

Gain Unique User Insights With an SDK Integration

In order to gain audience insights when using a device’s video player, it’s vital to incorporate a software development kit (SDK) integration. An SDK can gather unique anonymous device insights, much like cookies would in a browser-based setting on desktop. Insights might include metrics on a user’s behavior as well as their geographic location and other details.

As you assess ad network partners to host your in-app videos, invest with partner that implements third-party verification within its SDK. (Third-party verification might include Moat, IAS, or another similar company.)

An SDK-integrated ad network can deliver higher-than-industry benchmarks when it comes to viewability. This allows you to measure the ROI of your marketing spend — specifically with video metrics like viewable impressions and audio-upon-completion.

InMobi, for example, offers a third-party verification built into its SDK, and can deliver unique device insights on video completions, interactivity, and viewability metrics. That means you get both fast-loading ads and invaluable device data.

How to Measure Viewable Impressions – Conclusion

When you consider VPAID and VAST for your mobile videos, it’s important to know the pros and cons of each method. VPAID offers you some great browser-based insights. But you can’t ignore the slow load time of browser-based ads, and too much buffering will drive your users away, which skews your viewability metrics. VPAID technology hinders media performance through limited viewability measurement and lower completion rates. As a brand marketer with viewability goals to meet, that all leads to a significant loss in ROI.

In order to focus on what matters — a great video experience for your audience — use the VAST method, and partner with an industry leader to get insights from a software development kit, such as geographic insights and engagement data.

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