US digital video advertising spiked 56.0% in 2014 to reach $5.96 billion, eMarketer estimates. Based on data from TubeMogul, pre-roll placements were the most affordable ads in the category throughout the year.
The video ad platform found that the average weekly cost per minute viewed for pre-roll ads was 3.2 cents in Q4 2014—the lowest price, and one that had held relatively steady throughout 2014 (up from 2.8 cents in Q1 and 3.1 cents in Q3). Social was the most expensive, at 18.1 cents in Q4, but this was down by about 8 cents since Q1 and 3 cents quarter over quarter.
Mobile and connected TV both came in at around 5 cents in Q4, with mobile rebounding from 4.2 cents in Q3. Average viewability rate for online pre-roll video ads in the US was 32% in Q4 2014. While this was 6 percentage points lower than in Q3, it was up nearly 14.3% since Q1. TubeMogul blamed the decline in part on advertisers’ less selective end-of-year budget spending and expected the rate to rebound as the industry places more emphasis on viewability this year. US desktop pre-roll video ads purchased via programmatic direct had higher viewability rates throughout 2014.
While viewability of ads bought directly from publishers fell 26 percentage points in Q4 to 53%, from nearly 80% in Q3, this was still more than 20 points above the overall average. Above-average performance could push programmatic pre-roll activity up this year. According to November 2014 polling by Undertone, 64% of agencies and 56% of marketers in the US already purchased pre-roll video ads programmatically, and 46% of publishers sold them this way.