An online video ad study from ad solution provider Vindico said clickthrough rates (CTR) used in measuring an ad campaign's effectiveness may be placing too much emphasis on the "click" activity and, more important, may be misunderstanding user intent.

The US video ad study, completed in 2011, points to ad completion rates over CTRs as the more "useful metric" and video ads with particularly high CTRs are possibly being misinterpreted as "successful" when users are simply clicking on ads in an attempt to make them go away, according to Vindico's April 2012 "Year in Review" study just released. 

User Intent Click to View vs. Click to Kill 

According to the Vindico study:

51 percent of video ad viewers arrived on the brand landing page after watching a video to completion (and ended up on the brand landing page later), while 49% clicked the digital video ad to arrive on the landing page, and of those who interacted with the product pages, 96% were the viewers who completed the video ad but did not click on it." (see chart.) 

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Source: Vindico, Year in Review, April 11, 2012

The chart also shows that 98% of the same "non-click" group advanced to the next, checkout step. The group said the data suggests that in measuring the "effectiveness" of an ad, the ad completion rate was a much more useful metric than the tried-and-true CTR that could misrepresent a user's true intent. 

Vindico also said its study shows this group who watched the video ad to completion had a deeper interaction with branded pages than the simple clickthrough group.  

Long Form vs. Short Form Video Content 

Characteristically, the ads placed in long-form video content (more than 10 minutes with narrative arc) had a lower CTR (0.83%) when compared with ads placed in short-form video content (of 10 minutes or less). The short-form ad CTR was 1.31%. So the group generating the preferred intent actually cost less to engage when using the clickthrough rate pricing model. 

Vindico also documented an 88% completion rate for ads served in long-form video (particularly when placed mid-roll) vs. a 76% completion rate for short-form video ads. Key to the results were viewers' commitment to watch long-form programming, and their willingness to sit through the ad to continue with the program.

Data was based on the original study completed by Vindico in October 2011, looked at viewing trends in pre- post- and mid-roll video ad placement, from data generated by millions of video ad impressions in the consumer packaged goods category, and delivered to Vindico over a 12-month period.