ARF Audience Measurement 2016: The Cross-Platform Digital Video Consumer

Hundreds of thought leaders and their customers gathered recently at the 2016 ARF Audience Measurement conference in New York City to discuss today’s media consumption and advertising research.

New Research and Insights: Digital Video Consumption

The show was especially exciting for the Verto team: last Tuesday, we launched new research on the patterns of digital video consumers in partnership with YuMe , one of our customers, on new trends in digital video consumption in the U.S.

We also publicly launched our bigger report, A Day in the Life of a Digital Video Consumer (click here to download the full report). YuMe is one of the leading video-based adtech players, and over the past six months, we collaborated on research that addresses key topics, such as:

  • What does multi-screen usage look like during a day in the life of a digital consumer?
  • How are connected TVs, gaming consoles, and streaming media devices affecting consumers’ use of digital video, both short and long form?

This type of audience measurement research is vital for publishers trying to position themselves in front of video-centric advertisers, or for advertisers/agencies considering how to invest in the right media mix for their video-based advertising.

Because so many different video services are available today, people are using multiple types of devices to consume digital video content, and several micro-segments exist for digital video consumers. Each of these segments behaves differently across different contexts (see below for an example). But without actual, hard data on cross-platform video consumption, it is difficult to build the right media plans, build stories behind target consumers for advertising sales, or understand where the market is going.

Micro-segmenting the Digital Video Consumer

As some publications have already stated, one of our report’s most interesting conclusions looked at the consumer segments behind video consumption (see an exemplary day-in-life graph of a video addict in the U.S.). Our research identified four distinct video consumer segments:

  1. Screen-Hopper: A heavy video user who watches videos on multiple devices, spending the most weekly hours online.
  2. Video Addict: A single-device, heavy video user who spends the most time watching video, but also has the highest frequency of video sessions.
  3. Technology Enthusiast: This user consumes content on multiple devices, but not necessarily video. [S]he has the second highest weekly hours online, but is often more interested in other online activities, like gaming.
  4. Occasional Video User: A single-device user who doesn’t stream video regularly. Use of long-form video service is largely concentrated in the mornings and early evenings, and often limited to a single session per day

As we mentioned during our presentation, it would be foolish to keep TV, radio, online, and mobile separate in today’s world. In fact, our key goal at Verto Analytics is to measure videoand audio content, and examine how they reach consumers across multiple channels, formats, devices, and contexts.

New Takeaways: Devices and Screens

We also presented other key findings from our research, including:

  1. Bigger screens dominate: When people are simultaneously using two digital devices, there is typically a dominant device used for video streaming and a secondary device for tasks ranging from messaging apps to social media, and from games to productivity apps. The dominant devices are typically the ones with a bigger screen (e.g. PC dominates over tablet, and tablet dominates over smartphone).
  2. The state of screens: Smart TVs, gaming consoles, and OTT devices have reached a mass market, with 40 to 80 million unique users per month. About 50 to 60% of the owners of these devices already use web browsers or apps on these devices, but this is growing.
  3. Primetime (for devices) is getting increasingly crowded: Smartphones are used throughout the day and PCs are primarily used during office hours, but all other key digital devices – from smart TVs to tablets – compete for prime-time eyeballs and engagement during the evenings.
  4. Devices still dictate content format: PCs, smartphones, and tablets are still the drivers of short-form video viewing, while household-based digital devices like smart TVs and gaming consoles are used much more for long-form video consumption.
  5. Video consumption is heavily concentrated: 10% of the top video consumers generate 60% of all long-form video sessions, and 10% of the top users generate 43% of all short-form video sessions. Short-form video services like YouTube have wider appeal and reach in the market, but Netflix and other services still rule the  long-form video services market.

Again, it was great to participate in such a great conference. Many thanks for the ARF team, ranging from Gayle and Marc to all of the others who made this happen again! Similarly, many thanks to Paul Neto and the whole YuMe team for participating in this groundbreaking new research. This was great teamwork, and I’m happy to see finally all the results publicly available.

We look forward to continuing our audience measurement research on today’s video consumers, tracking in-app video consumption, user profiles, and day-in-life patterns. Stay tuned for more research in this area coming up later this year.

Interested in learning more? Click here for a full copy of A Day in the Life of a Digital Video Consumer.