Ben Appleton
Jun 10, 2020

To prove its worth, programmatic needs to shift to engagement-based metrics

As marketers become thrifty during COVID-19, shifting programmatic to engagement-based metrics like video completion rate or cost per completed view (CPCV) will help demonstrate more tangible return on investment.

To prove its worth, programmatic needs to shift to engagement-based metrics

Brands are cautious about the sentiment of the content on which their campaigns and content are placed, and the uncertainty with the current economy also means that budgets are tighter. As this climate brings increased pressure to justify ad spend and show returns on allocated advertising budgets, brands and agencies need more transparency and visibility into their campaigns than ever before.

Moreover, the exponential growth of screens and smart devices has placed increased attention and pressure on video advertising to deliver results. Before the effects of COVID-19 measures were felt, online video was already predicted to account for one-quarter of APAC’s entire video market by 2024, almost a 70% increase from 2019. Now, as people stay at home, the demand for on-demand video content has skyrocketed. Between 20 January to 11 April 2020, AMPD research found that consumption across on-demand video providers, Netflix, Viu, iFlix and iQiyi recorded a 115%, 274%, 118%, and 500% increase, respectively.

New measurement metrics are needed to ensure that programmatic continues to be a useful tool and one solution is to shift the focus to engagement-based metrics like video completion rate or cost per completed view (CPCV).

In this regard, performance-based solutions are considered a shining light for marketers and agencies and maximising advertising budgets moving forward as they enable buying on outcomes as a currency. This is especially true for agencies and marketers looking to increase performance and minimise financial risk while improving operational efficiency.

Advanced buying platforms can provide real value here. In the course of operating, such platforms make decisions on which impressions to bid on depending on the KPIs and targeting settings dictated by brands. Video is a relatively new platform for marketers, and we identified early on that measurement poses a significant challenge. By applying predictive machine learning, we were able to develop a solution to automatically optimise bids based on the predicted completion rate of available inventory.

What this means is that agencies and marketers only pay for impressions that have been played through to 100% completion across the entire open internet. This shift in how ROI can and should be measured in today’s world of evolving consumption habits is already showing results. By transitioning from pay per impression to pay per completed view, buyers in the APAC region are enjoying significant reductions in CPCVs, as well as improved operational efficiency.

The numbers speak for themselves: buyers in Singapore have seen more than 90% reduction in Cost per Viewable Completed View (vCPCV), as compared to using their social video platforms. On the operational efficiency front, traders are freed up from the laborious task of manually extracting reports and optimising to completion rate or CPCV-specific metrics—saving up to 20% of their time.

When the pandemic and its ramifications evolve, marketers and agencies will have to navigate an evolving ad tech landscape. Brands will be looking for more effective and meaningful engagements and results that will lead to a tangible return on business investments. When technology is employed judiciously, the ad tech industry will be able to support the changing demands and requirements of brands. The key is to have a data-led, well-executed programmatic strategy and outcomes-led measurement metrics will ensure that there is a measurable ROI on a business’ bottom line.


Ben Appleton is an account director at Xandr.

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