comScore Chairman: Down with Clicks, Up with Video

Clicks just aren’t what they used to be. In fact, they’re pretty much meaningless for the online advertising business, said Gian Fulgoni, chairman and co-founder of comScore, during a keynote speech at the OMMA Hollywood conference in Los Angeles on Monday.

In their place, advertisers and Web publishers need to focus on improved targeting, adding rich media and video to their sites and using better metrics to determine the effectiveness, return on investment and engagement, he said. “We have to get off the idea that a click is a valid metric. There are many other ways of measuring the effectiveness of ads,” he said.

But if clicks are passe, what’s a more useful measure of effectiveness for web ads? Video will be a key component in a new range of metrics that better serve advertisers and publishers because video delivers on intent to purchase, Fulgoni explained.

ComScore can track the impact of online video ads by measuring whether Internet users who saw an online video ad then went on to visit a site or buy a product, for instance, he said. Brands using online video ads have seen lifts of anywhere from 20 percent to 40 percent or higher in terms of incremental buying with online video and rich media over other ad forms, he said. “The reason advertising works well on TV is it has sight, sound and motion, and you have that in online video. It’s easier to communicate a message and easier to persuade people,” he said.

The growth in viewing of long-form content online is also a boon for the growing online video ad market, he said. The longer people watch, the more advertising opportunities there are. The average online Internet user is watching 3.5 minutes at a time, and that keeps increasing. “That’s a really important metric because if we just stick with three-minute video clips that limits the number of ads,” he said. “You want these longer-running shows so you can maximize ad dollars. This is one of the key components of the future of online advertising.”

However, work still needs to be done in where ads should live in online video, whether as pre-rolls, post-rolls or another form, he added. Fulgoni did not elaborate on the ideal ad formats for online video.

Despite the lack of consistent standards and metrics in online video, advertisers continue to invest in the medium, said Michael Hayes, executive VP of digital at Initiative, during a separate panel. “The category is growing regardless of whether we solve the metrics problems,” he said.