Even as online video ad strategies evolve, friction increases over ad blocking

Marketers are increasingly using viewability as the most important metric in deciding how well an online video ad performs, a new report from Videology finds. But the number of fraudulent ad requests -- such as those from ad bots -- spiked to record levels at the end of 2015, even as the share of ads targeted toward mobile devices jumped 700 percent in the past year. And issues like this are helping spur threats from some wireless carriers that they will block mobile ads entirely.

Videology mobile campaign growth

Source: Videology U.S. Video Market At A Glance, Q4 2015 - full infographic here

Already, two European carriers, Three UK and Three Italia, have said they will begin blocking ads to their subscribers' mobile phones, a Wall Street Journal article reports. Other carriers including AT&T (NYSE: T) and Sprint (NYSE: S) were more cautious when talking about the impact of ads on mobile phones on panels at Mobile World Congress this week in Barcelona, Spain, but did not rule out ad blocking as a strategy.

Wireless carriers in the U.S. increasingly are competing to offer lower-cost or free data plans to subscribers, and both Verizon (NYSE: VZ) and T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS), for example, are bearing the cost of streaming data from their respective OTT services to their mobile customers.

The rising friction even had Anvato Founder Alper Turgut predicting to WSJ that "there will be a war" between mobile carriers and advertisers or ad-supported content providers.

Such rhetoric is alarming and puts more pressure on brand marketers to evolve both their strategy and their technology to appease the rapidly burgeoning mobile video segment.

Videology, which produces software for multiscreen TV and video advertising, said that marketers are working to improve their targeting methods, such as increasingly combining traditional TV audience data with their digital video advertising plans to figure out just how to buy online video ads so that they reach the right online video viewers.

"The ability to provide bi-lateral insights across digital and TV is changing the game for advertisers and driving exceptional efficiencies. This is one trend that we can expect to grow big time," said Scott Ferber, chairman and CEO at Videology.

At least four out of five digital ad campaigns use a cross-screen strategy, Videology found, with the number of such campaigns growing 50 percent year-over-year. Furthermore, 86 percent of all campaigns leverage mobile in their strategy.

That level of implementation in advertising campaigns means that marketers may be the ones who have to figure out how to fix the situation for both AVOD providers and wireless carriers, and fast.

For more:
- see the release
- see this WSJ article

Related articles:
The 5 big issues the wireless industry is hiding from at this year's MWC
Ad blocking becomes the next pricey headache for online video advertisers- Year In Review
Striking a balance between advertisers and OTT viewers requires holistic thinking

Read more on