Assessing New Digital Advertising Platforms

Eric Postma

H How do Connected TV, Native Advertising and Online Audio perform when targeting farmers in North America?

The digital advertising landscape is continuously evolving, and it is important for marketers to keep up to date on new tactics, platforms and techniques to ensure we can effectively reach audiences.

In our recently released digital advertising benchmark report, we published data on average performance rates for commonly used advertising platforms such as Facebook and Twitter ads.

While still on the fringe of digital advertising tools, we’ve seen the increased adoption of newer advertising options like Connected TV, Native Advertising and Online Audio. This report uses a smaller sample size than our full digital benchmarks report, but it begins to showcase the potential for some of these newer platforms.

What Are These Platforms?

We see these three new platforms as more awareness-building digital advertising tactics. This is partly due to the way that the advertisements are presented and partly due to the way that users engage and interact in these platforms.

Connected TV:

This refers to premium content streaming through apps typically on a smart TV. These ads are often seen when watching content via ad-supported over-the-top media platforms (i.e., Roku, Chromecast, Amazon Fire Stick, Apple TV, etc.). These platforms feature video-based advertising, and users on these platforms don’t click through to sites. These are becoming great tools for increasing product and brand awareness.

Native Advertising:

Sometimes called sponsored content, this is a concept of creating and displaying ads that are so consistent with page content that the ads are fully assimilated into the website design. These operate in a similar way to programmatic display advertising; however, the ad creative tends to be more message focused.

Online Audio:

These are audio-only ads - think radio, but via the Internet. The largest provider of online audio advertising is Spotify. Users tend to remain in-platform, so we typically don’t see a lot of click-throughs from these ad placements.

Average Clickthrough Rates

Across all digital advertising platforms (programmatic display, search, social, etc.) we see an average clickthrough rate of 0.74% over the past four years. We don’t see that performance from these new platforms, and instead can see performance like video or direct-to-publisher placements.

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As mentioned above, users don’t click through on ads served via Connected TV, so we see a clickthrough rate of 0%. This is not indicative of the performance, as the video-based advertisements are still very effective at making an impact with the target audience.

From a click perspective, we see performance from Native and Online Audio that is more like the performance of Google Video or Direct-to-Publisher ads. This is mostly due to the type of content featured in these advertisements and the user behavior in these platforms. The value of these new platforms seems to be in using them for awareness-based tactics. Therefore, the best way to measure effectiveness of Connected TV, Native or Online Audio advertisements would be with cost-per-mille, cost-per-view (video) or view rate (video) measurements.

Average Cost-Per-Mille (CPM)

Cost-per-mille is the average amount spent to achieve 1,000 impressions. This is a good measure of the efficiency our ads and campaigns when awareness is the objective.

In the digital advertising benchmark report our average CPM across all campaigns, platforms and objectives was reported at $4.00.

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Note: As reported in the digital advertising benchmarks report, Google Search is always an outlier when reporting CPM due to the nature of the platform.

What we see from Native advertising is that it can be as efficient as Facebook or Programmatic display advertising, making Native advertising a terrific option for driving impressions at scale.

At first glance, it may seem that Connected TV and Online Audio are exceptionally expensive platform. The reality is that impressions on these platforms are very valuable. One impression on Connected TV is an entire view of a 15- or 30-second video advertisement. Similarly, a single impression on an Online Audio platform is an entire playthrough of the audio ad. Skipping ads is not typically allowed on these platforms. A more effective means of measuring performance for Connected TV and Online Audio would be in measuring cost-per-view or view rate.

Average Cost-Per-View (CPV) or Cost-Per-Listen (CPL)

Cost-per-view is the average amount spent to achieve a single video view for any video-based advertising. Comparatively, cost-per-listen is the average amount spent to achieve a single listen for online audio advertising.

Platforms tend to count a “view” differently, so it is important to recognize the difference and how they impact the reporting. The following is what each platform considers a video view:

  • Facebook: A view of three seconds or more.
  • Twitter: A view of two seconds or more.
  • YouTube: A view of 30 seconds or more (or until completion for shorter formats).
  • Connected TV: A view of the entire video.
  • Online Audio: A listen of the entire audio ad.

As you can imagine, video views or listens on YouTube, Connected TV and Online Audio are much more valuable than the social platforms, simply due to the length of engagement.

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Note: Non-video-based advertisements are removed for this analysis.

Even the more expensive (and more valuable) video views are still exceptionally cost-effective. The nature of the platforms and the way that advertisements are served ensures that for Google Video, Connected TV and Online Audio there is a captive audience that is served the entirety of a video or audio-based ad.

One note is that the Online Audio is on par with a view on Twitter or Facebook. However, those social platforms count views as only 2- or 3-second views whereas the Online Audio listen is for the entirety of a 30-second audio advertisement.

Average View Rate or Listen Rate

This “performance” of the ad is shown when we measure view or listen rate. This is the proportion of impressions (initial views of the ad) that lead to a view or a listen. This is a measure of how effective our ad is at driving the intended action, when the intended action is a video view or audio ad listen.

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Note: Again, non-video-based advertisements are removed for this analysis.

Notice the power of the captive audience for Connected TV and Online Audio – every impression leads to a full view/listen of the advertisement. This really stands out as a key selling feature for using these advertisement types, especially when compared to social platforms.

The CPV and View Rate analyses prove that Connected TV, Online Audio and Native Advertisements can be effective and efficient means for awareness-based campaigns. These three new platforms have shown some potential when used to drive reach, impressions and views.


New digital advertising platforms and techniques are continuously becoming available, and it is imperative that we monitor and measure performance to understand (a) if they are effective, and (b) where they best fit into our marketing strategy. As we continue to experiment, we always will circle back to our core advertising benchmarks to assess ongoing performance.


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