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Video ad click-through rates fell last year, but completion and viewability rates both improved, as did the fraud rate, per Extreme Reach data. The firm analyzed billions of video ad impressions across desktop, mobile, and connected TV from 2015 through 2017 to provide benchmarks and trends.

Video Completion Rates

Video ads were completed 70% of the time last year, up from 65% in 2016 and 67% the year before, with Extreme Reach saying that advertisers focused on completion at the expense of click-throughs. Although the first half of the year (73%) averaged a better completion rate than the second half (68%), the Q4 figure was up from a year earlier.

Meanwhile, the 70% annual average masks significant differences by length and device.

Completion rates actually fell for 15-second ads (without skippable inventory included), from 79% in 2016 to 73% last year. But completion rates had a strong jump for 15-second ads overall, from 60% to 72%, and the average completion rate for 30-second ads also improved, from 71% to 75%.

As a result, 30-second ads actually finished with a higher completion rate than 15-second ads.

Looking at devices, and completion rates continued to be far higher on connected TV (CTV – 94%) than on tablets (68%), mobile phones (64%) and desktops (65%). Both mobiles and tablets saw higher completion rates in 2017 than in 2016.

However, completion rates were most consistent on CTVs, and otherwise declined from Q2 through Q4 for the smaller screens.

Click-Through Rates

Click-through rates (CTRs) declined to an average of 0.29% last year, from 0.34% in 2016 and 0.48% in 2015, as more advertisers focused instead on completion rates as a video ad campaign goal. CTRs declined during each quarter of the year, with the Q4 average down more than 38% from the year-earlier period.

The annual average CTR was actually stable for 15-second ads (0.25%) from a year earlier, but fell by almost 10% for 30-second ads, to 0.4%.

Click-through rates, meanwhile, were higher on desktops (0.42%) than on mobile phones (0.3%) and tablets (0.25%). They also were also much higher on ads served by Media Aggregators (0.55%) than Premium Media Vendors (0.18%), whereas completion rates were higher for Premium Media Vendors.

Invalid Traffic Rate

Encouragingly, “advertisers and their partners appear to be winning the fight against video ad fraud.” The invalid traffic rate has now more than halved from 2015 (13.1%) to 2017 (6.2%).

The general invalid traffic rate, despite a drop, remains considerably higher for Media Aggregators than for Premium Media Vendors, at more than twice the rate.

Mobiles Take Over From Desktops

For the first time in 2017, the average percentage of impressions served to mobile phones (34.3%, up from 27%) was greater than to desktops (32.3%, down from 35%).

Recent data from Ooyala confirms mobile’s growing role in digital video: its Q4 2017 report found that mobile devices accounted for 60% of global video starts, with smartphone plays reaching 47.5% of all plays.

Viewability Rates

The average video ad viewability rate improved to 60% last year, up from 54% in 2016 and just 46% in 2015. This is using the benchmark of a minimum of 50% in view for a minimum of 2 consecutive seconds.

Viewability was up across media types and ad lengths, but continued to be higher for Premium Media Vendors (67%) and for 30-second ads (65%).

The average viewable completion rate (the percentage of impressions that were viewable and played all the way through) rose to 70%. While that was only a small increase from 2016, it represents a much larger jump from 2015 (47%). (Viewable Completion Rate is a subset of Viewability, meaning that it measures the percentage of viewable ads that were watched to completion.)

The viewable completion rate was higher for 15-second (72%) than 30-second ads (67%), though the latter saw a more significant climb.

The full results are available to view here.

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