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70% of Video Ads Labeled In-Stream Are Actually in-Banner: Study


Are video marketers getting what they’re paying for? Oftentimes not, says marketing platform Rocket Fuel. After partnering with Integral Ad Science (IAS) and poring through 47 billion video impression opportunities from bids won and measured, Rocket Fuel found that roughly 70 percent open exchange and private marketplace video ads labeled as in-stream were actually in-banner.

There’s a huge difference between the two: In-stream ads are larger and play in the center column. They’re paired with content the viewer has likely chosen to view. In-banner, on the other hand, are smaller and placed in a side column. They’re a distraction from the content in the center of the page, and are not the main focus.

Rocket Fuel found that even in private marketplace inventory 74 percent of placements labeled in-stream are actually in-banner.

“In-banner video placements create a poor user experience and are known to be less successful at capturing users’ attention than in-stream placements,” Rocket Fuel notes. “When in-banner impressions are misrepresented by publishers and ad networks, advertisers end up paying in-stream rates for lower quality placements.”

The problem is a lack of transparency in the programmatic video market, Rocket Fuel says. Its study looked at impressions on desktops and mobile devices marked as in-stream by an exchange publisher or partner. IAS data determined whether or not those video ads were correctly marked.

Rocket Fuel cautions that solutions means to solve the problem, such as targeting only large video players or private marketplaces, don’t do the job. Targeting by size brings the miscategorization rate down by only four percent, while the rate of miscategorization is actually higher for private marketplaces.

“The sheer amount of inventory that was misrepresented was incredibly surprising,” says Jon Stewart, senior director of account based marketing at Rocket Fuel. “The other thing that was surprising was that the workarounds that are typically thought to mitigate this problem—large player targeting, exclusive targeting of PMPs, and high viewability standards—don’t materially increase the rate of in-stream.”




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