Programmatic Video Buys Lead in Non-Viewable Ads, Invalid Traffic

It might be a good time to rethink that programmatic buy. According to the just-released 2017 U.S. Cross-Platform Future in Focus report from ComScore viewability and fraud rates are far higher for programmatic video ads than direct buys.

Looking at U.S. Q4 2016 data, ComScore found that 70 percent of directly bought desktop video ads were viewable, while that was true for only 47 percent of programmatic video ads. Further, 5 percent of traffic to directly bought desktop video ads was invalid, while 11 percent was invalid for programmatic video ads.

ComScore also learned that invalid traffic is a growing problem for video ads. In Q1 2016, 8.5 percent of all desktop video ad traffic was invalid, and that number grew to 10.2 percent by Q4. In comparison, the invalid traffic percentage for desktop display ads stayed flat. The report suggests the higher CPMs of video ads makes them a target for fraud.

Looking at content views, ComScore found that U.S. young adults between the ages of 18 and 34 spent 30.0 billion hours with digital media in Q4 2016, but only 19.1 billion hours with live TV. They used mobile devices for most of that digital content (23.1 billion hours), which means they spent more time on mobile devices than they did in front of a TV set.

That clear preference for digital media (which includes websites, apps, and streamed video) is a sign of things to come. The division was even for adults age 35 to 44, who spent 26.6 billion hours with live TV and 27.4 billion hours with digital media. Adults 55 and over clearly prefer live TV, watching 37.0 billion hours in Q4 compared to 16.4 with digital media.

For households that stream over-the-top video, ComScore finds 45.1 percent also have a cable account and 24.3 percent have satellite. However, 15.2 percent combine a streaming service and an over-the-air antenna, while 15.4 percent rely on streaming services only. That means 30.6 percent of U.S. streaming households are cordless.

Roku is the clear leader in streaming hardware, ComScore notes, with 18 percent of the U.S. streaming box or stick market. Next up is Amazon FireTV with 12 percent, Google Chromecast with 8 percent, and Apple TV with 5 percent. The Roku number includes Roku OS TVs, as well. Boxes and sticks are the most popular way of streaming OTT content, the report notes.

“Desktop and mobile media usage are converging with traditional TV and OTT, as consumers watch their favorite content through any number of devices, including smart TVs, streaming boxes, and gaming consoles,” ComScore notes. “The cross-platform era will be defined by a media-agnostic view of the consumer.”

Fore more results, download the full 2017 U.S. Cross-Platform Future in Focus report (registration required).


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