The TV Perspective: When it comes to Video Quality, The Source Matters
The online media and advertising industries still have a long way to go to ensure a consistent TV-like viewing experience across all screens. With the growing adoption of Smart TV’s and OTT solutions, larger screens have to now be considered too. As a brand builder, protector and storyteller, you need to control every factor you can to ensure the best possible quality of your video ads. One step in particular can make a significant difference.
The TV industry has had organizations like SMPTE, NAB and Society of Broadcast Engineers for decades in order to protect and draw TV viewers by ensuring the highest quality viewer experience possible. The digital advertising industry doesn’t have organizations dedicated to online video quality. In short, there are no equivalent standards for online video. However, digital video has quickly become a popular alternative to TV for a huge portion of the viewing audience. And TV, with all of its meticulous quality oversight, has set a very high bar for the audience’s viewing expectations.
Without industry-defined video quality standards and practices, online video quality remains inconsistent and often poor, particularly when it comes to advertising. For brands, this can be a serious issue. Studies have shown that poor quality video often sparks a negative viewer response. According to one recent report* more than 2 in 5 online video views are of inferior quality.
In the broadcast world, most advertisers wouldn’t think of delivering a file that didn’t meet stringent industry-defined quality standards. There’s a well-established TV practice that ensures that ads clear the high broadcast bar: Brands and agencies go direct to the source, the post-production house that did the finishing work, to obtain the ad. The post-house has the highest-resolution master file and they can provide that pristine file digitally upon request. Starting with that crisp source file is one of the most effective steps you can take because that creative master remains in its purest, most watchable form. If your third-party ad platform supports broadcast quality MPEG or QuickTime files, you can immediately eliminate several quality-compromising steps that typically occur along an ad’s dark journey from production to digital audience.
One Key Step Toward a TV-Like Viewing Experience
Video quality is a significant issue for most marketers who include digital video in their advertising mix. If it’s important for you and the brand(s) you’re building, you will find it worthwhile to go right to the source, the video post house, to gain access to the creative master. Before you do this, however, make sure you know the Ad-ID of the specific creative you need. Ad-ID (or in some cases, an ISCI code) is a unique code number used to identify each specific creative. Each version of a single ad has a unique assigned code number. If you know the specific Ad-ID, you know you’re using the correct creative. This is important, because different versions may be different lengths, have different talent and rights permissions (like whether the ad is even permitted for internet use), specific contractual expiration dates, etc. Armed with the proper Ad-ID, contact the post-house that has the master file you’re looking for and grant their operations person permission to upload the broadcast master to your third-party ad platform. If your third-party ad platform supports broadcast standard files (not all do), you’ve just improved the way the vast majority of your digital audience experiences your brand and message.
There are several other steps you can take to improve and control the quality of your digital video ads, but this a great first step. The future offers even greater quality enhancements. With the implementation of new codec standards (H.265), perceived video quality should be able to increase even at the lowest of bitrates. But when you start with anything less than the video source file (creative master), you compromise the viewer experience from the beginning. Your ads shouldn’t take a lesser path for digital than with TV, and today, they don’t have to.
To learn more about video convergence, please click here.
*2014 Viewer Experience Report. Rep. Conviva, 31 Mar. 2014. Web. 3 Sept. 2014.
The Convergence Perspective: Innovation is Powering Change
As the advertising world moves toward a convergence of TV and Digital Video, several disruptive technological changes are helping to pave the way by breaking down the barriers that have kept these two worlds divided for years. A recent study found that 51% of advertisers who weren’t doing multi-screen video advertising said that they were frustrated with technology solutions (or that there has been a lack of tech) to help them smartly execute their convergence plans. The truth is that there are a number of new technologies and innovative solutions that can help advertisers seamlessly converge TV and digital video. These technologies span multiple aspects of the video advertising process, including: media, creative, workflow, viewer experience and measurement.
There are many areas where we can see the worlds of TV and Digital Video coming together. For example, more media packages and buys are including both TV and digital video. With respect to creative, 90%+ of the video ads that run online also run on TV. Traditionally, TV and digital workflows have been two very separate silos, but the industry is starting to bring them together for greater efficiency and control. A significant portion of the video ads that run on digital media look poor compared to their TV counterpart. The ad industry is now starting to pay closer attention to digital video quality (including publishers, like Facebook and Google). Finally, advertisers want to see and understand the ROI from TV and digital together, so they can understand synergies between the two.
Several technological changes over the past few years have helped accelerate the convergence of TV and Digital video, addressing these opportunities and challenges. One notable shift has been the emergence of cloud computing as a catalyst for innovation and improved efficiency. By applying the latest in cloud efficiency, scale and flexibility, TV operations have been able to become as nimble and efficient as their digital counterparts, sometimes even more so. In some cases, video ads delivered to TV can actually be processed and delivered to air in less time than comparable digital executions. One feature that has been instrumental in this shift is the ability to deliver high-quality video to the exact format needed for the target system or device, adding efficiencies at multiple steps in the process and giving the transparency and control needed for achieving scale.
Advances in workflow automation that allow TV agencies and broadcast operations to dramatically streamline their systems can now be leveraged by the digital video segment as well. By connecting and streamlining processes and workflow, from post-house through media and traffic and on to stations, networks and publishers, everybody wins as content is delivered in pristine quality, at scale, in the most efficient means possible.
Recent advances in realtime data processing and analytics, including so-called “big data” processing, has sparked some forward-thinking companies to develop realtime analytics solutions and present more actionable analytics to advertisers. We are seeing this unfold both in digital and in TV. Add to this the constant advances being made in measurement and data science, allowing brands to have more intelligence than ever on the effectiveness, safety and quality. These tools go well beyond the standard VAST (Video Ad-Serving Template) and VPAID (Video Player Ad-Serving Interface Definition) metrics that have been the standard in digital video. Advanced analysis of campaign executions can show information for specific domains where media was purchased, identify optimal creative frequency and rotation patterns and even determine if video bought as pre-roll was served in-banner. These advances ultimately help to drive convergence because they help determine and improve the actual ROI of digital buys, thereby making it easier to make a clear, fair comparison between TV and digital ROI.
As the worlds of TV and Digital Video continue to converge, the technological advances will keep coming. Innovative companies are continuing to look for ways to provide better efficiency, better transparency and better accountability across the entire video advertising ecosystem.
To learn more about video convergence, please click here.
Extreme Reach was proud to be a part of the Digiday Platform Summit touching on the growing role and utility of online platforms like ours in connecting brands with audiences. Our own Chief Digital Officer Avi Brown sat down with Digiday Editor-in-Chief Brian Morrissey for a discussion regarding video convergence and the challenges of scaling digital video; the two touched on a big issue for digital video advertising and the cornerstone of our efforts: transparent, actionable data. Click here to watch the discussion and learn more.
Our clients know that we’re always innovating our groundbreaking video ad distribution platform to make their jobs easier and more streamlined. We pride ourselves on delivering real, effective improvements to the way our clients manage, deliver and measure their video campaigns. We do this in part by acting on client feedback to regularly improve on the user experience. This includes specific requests for updated functionality.
We’re always tweaking what’s under the hood of the engine that powers the world’s digital video advertising (and if you’ve got an idea for how we can better serve your unique needs, let your Account Manager know today). Now we’re giving all that muscle a fresh coat of paint and improving the Extreme Reach Dashboard.
The latest update to our user interface makes it even easier to manage your creative at a glance with a simple, streamlined look that gives you every insight into your video campaigns across TV, Digital, Talent and more. Check out a screenshot below:
We’re excited to show off the latest updates to our new and improved dashboard, and we hope you’ll be just as excited to take advantage. But of course we’re not stopping there. We’ll continue rolling out improvements as we receive more feedback from clients to shape exactly how our next innovation takes form.
If you haven’t submitted feedback yet, please do. We’d love to hear from you.
Extreme Reach began in 2008 with a dream to power the world’s video advertising. We’re proud to announce we’ve taken the next step towards that goal today by partnering with Group IMD to globalize TV ad distribution. We’ve worked hard to become the the leading provider of TV ad distribution, and now we’ve added the widest coverage of TV ad distribution internationally.
The result? The largest unified, global video ad delivery service for TV.
We’re thrilled to begin utilizing our combined abilities to give clients comprehensive international coverage, unprecedented campaign insights and worldwide total brand protection. Click here to read more about what our partnership means for our clients and the future of video advertising.
High definition (HD) has been the gold standard on TV for several years, but a number of clients are starting to ask us about the new HD format, 4K.
Watch 4K videos in action…
If you aren’t familiar with the term “4K,” it refers to the emerging TV format called 4K Ultra HD, or UHD, which has four times the resolution of full HD. Nearly every major manufacturer currently offers 4K sets, and these new TVs produce a truly outstanding picture. You may even end up having a 4K set in your home earlier than you thought. In fact, 10 million homes are projected to have Ultra HD TVs within the next two years.
While 4K may seem like it’s a ways off to some, it’s probably not too early to have it on your radar and consider lessons learned from the rise of HDTV. For example, while the industry may have initially been apprehensive about the value of HD advertising, many studies have shown a direct correlation between HD advertising and improved results in brand perception and brand recall. HD ads not only outperform SD ads, but SD ads can actually harm a brand’s image when shown next to HD ads in a commercial break.
Naturally, the need for UHD ads will grow as consumers purchase more 4K-capable TVs. And many more consumers may already be headed that way. Last year, 27% of sets sold were 50 inches and over according to Futuresouce Consulting’s Jack Wetherill. Add that to the fact that some of the biggest manufacturers have moved almost entirely to producing TVs over 55 inches (ex. Sharp’s 2014 lineup of 25+ TV sets only offers four under 55 inches), and the focus on 4K sets becomes more clear. Shoppers who opt to buy a bigger, non-4K screen today will be buying a TV that will be quickly outdated in terms of quality tomorrow. Likewise, brands that move to UHD ads earlier will see the biggest benefits.
We’re keeping a close eye on the new TV format. We’re already deep into the details, so we can answer your questions and help you understand the next step for TV advertising.
Want to talk more about UHD ads? Drop us a note.
Here at Extreme Reach, we have few traditions as strong as our two-week release cycle, and that tradition continued even as we celebrated the holidays. We’re ringing in the New Year with new platform enhancements—which we find to be much more practical and enduring than resolutions.
Several of the updates we’ve made recently started out as requests from clients to streamline their day-to-day work. For example, you’ll see many small changes to the user interface that give you a preview of the details and attachments that are available for each creative. Here are a few of the highlights from our past two releases.
We’ve created a new filter in our Creative Library search for clients who like to label their assets with the brand or product being advertised. Now, a handy drop-down menu will list each product or brand associated with the advertiser, making it easy to focus your search. We’ve also added a neat paperclip icon to indicate which videos have attachments; mouse over that paperclip, and you’ll see exactly how many attachments are available without leaving the search page. To further streamline your workflow, we now provide a one-click option for creating SD companion videos to go along with your HD ads. Simply check “Include SD Companion” when you add new creative to your account and the work is done. We’ll even automatically create corresponding ISCI and Ad-ID codes for the new companion ad.
In the latest release, we implemented a client request to automatically include campaign start and end dates on the Delivery Details page. Our platform scours your traffic details and the video creative itself to provide accurate campaign dates that you can see at a glance.
Online video campaign reporting can now be automated for our clients too. Find the “OVA Data Export” option in your account, tell us how often you want the reports, and your data will be sent your way like clockwork.
Talent & Rights Management
The latest releases also included some structural improvements to our talent payment and rights management tools. We’ve now added role-specific fields for Business Affairs Managers, Talent Managers and Traffic Managers. This allows us to put all the info you need at your fingertips while still keeping it simple and relevant to each user on your team.
Over the last month, we’ve released more than 60 platform enhancements that streamline video advertising workflows and over 20 user interface enhancements.
I’ll be back at the beginning of February with highlights from the next two platform updates.
Advertising leaders who think forward need the tools to help them move forward. The Extreme Reach platform continually raises the bar by adding new client-requested capabilities to our platform every two weeks. We thought you might appreciate a glimpse at a few of our latest enhancements.
Talent & Rights
This month, we’ve released extensive upgrades to our talent cost estimating tools, making them more accurate, faster and easier to use. Talent Managers can now get a summary or a detailed PDF view of talent estimates, with precise calculations based on up-to-date wage tables and your ad’s (automatically-uploaded) cast list.
We’ve beefed up our online video reporting capabilities to include three new verification measures that ensure your views and clicks are genuine. Ad viewability metrics have been added so you can know that your ads are being seen by real people. And to provide even clearer data on video-plays, we’ve also added new ad auto-play measurements. We report exactly how many times publishers automatically loaded and played your ad, and how many times users initiated the view of your ad. For clicks and other viewer interactions, we’ve added new fraud exclusion filters to make sure that only real viewer interactions are counted. These ad measurements (and several more) have been added to a variety of reports that are easily accessed from our platform.
Online Surveys & Data Integration
Our platform now offers full support for online customer surveys. You can build your survey on the third-party app of your choice and send it out in conjunction with your online video campaigns managed on the Extreme Reach platform.
We’ve also made it easier than ever to integrate third-party video campaign data into your reports. Our enhanced integration tools make it easy to bring in valuable information from other services and blend it seamlessly into your Extreme Reach campaign reports.
Also in the latest release, we’ve enhanced and streamlined the ways traffickers work with groups of media destinations (Order Groups). Our platform will show the advertiser for every spot in your order group, even when that differs from the name listed on the order itself. It’ll also keep tabs on your product information, brand name and sequence of destinations—among lots of other order details—when your ads are trafficked through our platform.
Those are a few key highlights from our recent releases. Altogether, over the last month, we’ve released more than 90 platform enhancements that streamline the video advertising workflow and over 50 user interface enhancements, acting on client feedback to place the tools you need immediately at-hand. I’m looking forward to sharing more new enhancements with you next month!