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Vevo on Online Ads: What Buyers Want, What Online Delivers
Advertisers want online video measurements that conform to what they already get from TV, but online video broadcasters can offer far more.
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In 2013, online video sites will continue trying to lure ad dollars away from TV. Targeted online video ads are far more effective at reaching desired users, online video execs know. The struggle is getting major brands to know that, too.

In a red carpet interview at the recent Streaming Media West conference in Los Angeles, Stephanie Fried, vice president of research, insights, and analytics for music video streamer Vevo, explained the gulf between online video ad buyers and sellers.

"The thing that they're most concerned with is what they do on television, which is really measuring eyeballs, so how many people do they have who are 18 to 49, how many females do they have for example, and so that's really where the measurement is going, online GRPs [gross ratings points], so that it can match with the TV measurement," Fried said.

TV ad buyers want measurements like those they've been using for decades. But, the problem for online ad sellers is that GRPs don't show the ways that online video ads are more effective.

"What I think they need to know is I think they need to understand the context around that exposure so it's not just how many eyeballs they have but how effective is it when they're reaching those people," Fried explained. "So we might reach maybe half as many people in the demo but we might be five times as effective so in that way it's a better place for their media and so that's what I try to show them is the effectiveness of that content."

For more on online video ads and why GRPs are old school, watch the full video below.

Troy:  Hi, everyone. This is Troy Dreier, senior associate editor for Streaming Media.com, coming to you from the red carpet at Streaming Media West in Los Angeles, joining me today Stephanie Fried who is with Vevo, your favorite music site online. Stephanie, tell people what you do.

Stephanie:  Hi. I'm Stephanie Fried. I am the vice president of research, insights and analytics at Vevo. That means that I look at the consumer behavior, what people are doing on our site, what their interests are, why they're there, how we can make them happier, also looking at the advertising effectiveness of the site to make sure that our advertisers really understand what the platform's doing for them and what people are doing really across platforms as well and then also overseeing analytics so really tracking the behavior, why people are going places, seeing how they interact with different parts of the site, whether or not they're staying with the videos using our playlist, that kind of thing so we can really understand and optimize.

Troy:  You're on a panel a little later this afternoon called "Quantifying the Audience for Advertisers." I know it's a big topic, getting advertisers to buy in to online video like they have with TV. What do they need to know about the online viewer?  What do you need to break down and tell them?

Stephanie:  Well, I mean I think what they want to know and what I want to tell them's a little bit different but basically the thing that they're most concerned with is what they do on television, which is really measuring eyeballs, so how many people do they have who are 18 to 49, how many females do they have for example, and so that's really where the measurement is going, online GRPs, so that it can match with the TV measurement. What I think they need to know is I think they need to understand the context around that exposure so it's not just how many eyeballs they have but how effective is it when they're reaching those people. So we might reach maybe half as many people in the demo but we might be five times as effective so in that way it's a better place for their media and so that's what I try to show them is the effectiveness of that content. I think what's also important is understanding how people view and who they're viewing, the content riff, 'cause we do see a lot of co-viewing of music videos I think not surprisingly, and so it's being able to take those people into account as well when we're looking at those numbers and make sure that they understand that they are monetizing those impressions that aren't necessarily coming through the ad server.

Troy:  It seems like the conversation for advertising, at least what I'm hearing, is that the online content providers keep saying, "We can give you so much more. We can break it down. We can give you what sites they visit. We can give you what they had for breakfast" and the TV advertisers are saying, "Shut up and give us our GRPs," which is gross rating points. I had to learn the language of advertising to write about this stuff. Explain what GRPs are and then why are they so important to TV advertisers?

Stephanie:  Yeah. So I think GRPs- to me GRPs are a little bit old school for the reasons that you were mentioning, which is online we really know so much about these people that on TV they just don't know through Nielsen, and so what they've done is they've kind of used age and gender as a proxy for reaching their audience. So they say, "We really want people who buy diapers, right, but we're going to say that means females 25 to 54 and we're going to target that demographic and hope that they happen to have kids. Right?"  That's really just a proxy. If they could actually target people who bought diapers they would definitely do that, right, and that's- in the online space we've definitely gotten more sophisticated about being able to reach those more behavioral segments versus the demographic segments. GRPs is really looking at the reach out of a specific audience and as you said it's gross ratings points so you're basically taking what your reach is against a demographic and then taking it out of the universe or an audience. And that's actually a point of contention for online GRPs, should it be out of the online audience or out of the TV audience or out of the total population, and that's actually where cross-media GRPs is kind of going is the total population 'cause you have to have a universe that represents all of the platforms. So basically then they're looking at did I reach enough of these people and hoping that by reaching those people they're reaching their audience so it's really just- really a proxy for who they actually want to reach.

Troy:  The problem it seems like with buying online is one of scale is what I keep hearing. They could isolate those diaper buyers but maybe it would be just a tiny chunk because then they want to serve to millions, but you're a giant site. Can you give them millions of diaper-buying mothers?

Stephanie:  <laughs> We can, yeah. I mean we have in the U.S. about 50 million visitors per month, which is obviously a lot of people, and what's nice about that is really any way you slice and dice them we have more of them than almost every other video site so we are able to reach audiences at huge scale. We reach a third of internet users every month so obviously a really big audience that we can kind of slice and dice across the board.

Troy:  Who is the average Vevo viewer just from your analytics, curious?  Who is this music lover who always goes to your site?

Stephanie:  So it's interesting because people always think that we skew very young, all teen users, and that's really not the case. We're about 75% count for 18 to 49, which is obviously the key TV buying demographic, and even- beyond that and outside of those limits we have a big chunk of teens and a big chunk of 50 plus that we can target as well, which is kind of what's nice is having that scale across age groups, but I think 18 to 34 is really kind of our core. We do also well in the 13 to 17 and we're very even male, female actually so about 50/50.

Troy:  I just did a big story for our print magazine about how Vevo is getting really big into live concerts. You guys have regular partnerships with places like David Letterman show and you broadcast a lot of other special live events. Tell me about the live music online. What are you seeing?  Are people putting on their calendars here's when this concert is that I want to see and tuning in for it?

Stephanie:  Yeah. So right now we do a lot of concerts and I like to think of it as the concerts are live but it's not necessarily appointment viewing right now. People aren't used to tuning in specifically for an event online and obviously if we do a lot of promotion around it, we make sure people really know about it, we're going to get a bigger audience for the live tune-in, but really where the concerts live is in that on-demand environment. So we take the concert, we chop it up so that they can watch a specific song if they want to, they can watch it all in a row, and so when they're looking for a Katy Perry video and they watch one of her music videos they're going to find the concert footage as well and they're going to watch that and start consuming that. And so we can see millions of views each month for some of that content two years after the concert is actually live so it's still live footage--Katy Perry was live--but people watch it throughout time. It's not necessarily something they feel like they need to tune in to right when it first airs on the site.

Troy:  Could you give me an estimate of the ratio of the people who watched that Katy Perry when it was first broadcast on your site versus how many people eventually watched it or part of it on demand?

Stephanie:  Yeah. I mean that's- it's a little hard to do right now just 'cause we're also a pretty new site a couple years old- actually three years old almost and so we actually still see up to a million streams a month for some of the concerts that we had really early in our existence so there's a very long tell and large tell in terms of volume. So in ten years I might tell you the live was one percent so it's really hard for us to tell and it also varies based on the promotion that we do and the artist has a lot to do with that as well and whether or not people are tuning in so right now it's a little hard to tell but I can say that the majority lives on on demand.

Troy:  Far more on demand.

Stephanie:  Yeah.

Troy:  Very good. Thank you for joining me, Stephanie. I really appreciate it, enjoyed our conversation. This is Troy Dreier coming to you from the red carpet.

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