Marketers Rank Click-Through Rates As Least Important Metric When Measuring Success Of Programmatic Video Campaigns, According To New Survey

New Research From Video Ad Tech Company Unruly Reveals Three-Quarters of Senior Marketers Will Shift Budgets To Programmatic Despite More Than Half Rating Programmatic Video Knowledge as ‘Average’, ‘Poor’ or ‘Very Poor’

NEW YORK, LONDON – June 4, 2015 – Click-through rates are the least important metric when measuring the success of online video campaigns, according to a new survey of senior marketers released today by video ad tech company Unruly. Instead, viewability and completed views was the highest priority among both UK and US marketers.

One thousand brand marketers in the US and UK were interviewed as part of the Unruly Programmatic Video Pulse Survey, the largest ever survey on programmatic video advertising. The survey highlights a number of shifting business trends around video advertising.

Unruly CEO Scott Button said: “Our survey reveals the extent to which the tectonic plates of ad tech have shifted. CTR, once the key KPI for marketers, is no longer as relevant, instead making way for engagement metrics such as viewability, completed views or interaction rates. With the increasing number of programmatic targeting capabilities at our fingertips, the research highlights a massive shift in the way marketers are evaluating their digital video campaigns.”

The research also found that three-quarters of senior marketers are expecting to shift more of their online video ad budget to programmatic over the next 12 months, while two-thirds of marketers say they have already transferred a portion of their TV ad budget to online video during the last year, illustrating the growing shift toward digital. Yet more than half of the marketers rated their programmatic video knowledge as “average”, “poor” or “very poor”.

Other business shifts the survey highlights include:   

  • Quality of inventory, viewability, ad fraud and the skills gap are top concerns for marketers: In the US, the top concerns for operating in the programmatic video sector include quality of inventory (20.8%), low levels of viewability (17.7%) and the skills gap and lack of internal expertise (15.8%). In the UK, the top concerns are quality of inventory (17.8%), low levels of viewability (15.3%), the skills gap and lack of internal expertise (14.5%) and ad fraud – robots (14.3%);
  • Advertisers are looking for ways to combine programmatic targeting and emotional targeting: Emotional/psychographic targeting is the most desired programmatic targeting capability among both and US and UK marketers, ahead of demographic, prospect-based and behavioral targeting;
  • Success metrics are shifting as advertisers move toward verified engagement metrics: Viewability and completed views are king and CTR has fallen to the bottom of the pile.
  • Programmatic video budgets are growing – and at the expense of TV: Three-quarters of senior marketers are expecting to shift more of their online video ad budget to programmatic over the next 12 months, while two-thirds of marketers say they have already transferred a portion of their TV ad budget to online video during the last year.

Button added: “As more budget shifts to programmatic video, marketers need to rethink how they approach their video strategy, everything from content creation to distribution, so their videos can travel across screens and meet their audiences wherever they are watching video.

“Our survey found that most marketers understand the need for custom creatives when applying targeting capabilities of programmatic video. Marketers need to develop a strong content stack to deliver appropriate creatives that can complement the advanced targeting capabilities that programmatic offers across the Open Web.

“With budget moving from TV to online, specifically through programmatic channels, it’s alarming to see that less than half of respondents in our survey felt they had a good handle on programmatic video knowledge. Programmatic ad buying provides marketers with a huge opportunity to better target their audiences, however, if we continue to see a lack of education in the industry, it’s going to lead to wasted budgets. The smart marketers are the ones who are going to invest heavily programmatic ad buying across departments.”

To see the full survey, along with recommendations on how to effectively reach target audiences programmatically, you can download it here.


Altogether 1,000 senior brand and agency marketers (500 in the US and 500 in the UK) were surveyed for the Unruly Programmatic Video Survey in March 2015.

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About Unruly

Unruly is the ad tech company that gets videos watched, tracked and shared across the Open Web. Positioned at the intersect of video, social, native & mobile, Unruly uses emotional audience data and user-friendly video formats to massively increase viewer engagement, brand performance & publisher revenues.

With 3 out of every 4 video views now taking place outside of YouTube, 84% of Ad Age 100 brands already trust Unruly to connect with audiences at speed and scale across the Open Web.

Differentiated by a unique data set of 2 trillion video views and powered by a full tech stack, Unruly adds value by algorithmically evaluating content shareability and programmatically targeting custom audiences. Viewability is 100% guaranteed to an audience of 1.36 billion monthly unique users across mobile, tablet and desktop devices. UnrulyX is the first supply-side platform (SSP) for mobile video to offer scaled delivery of native ad formats and guarantee the viewability of premium video impressions bought via RTB.

Unruly employs 200 people across 15 offices, with regional HQs in London, New York and Singapore. Its super power is emotional ad tech. Its secret weapon is passionate people on a mission to #DeliverWow.