Dmexco rolls into Cologne this week and the migration of advertiser spend from TV to online formats looks set to steal the headlines. 

Global budgets for online marketing will surpass those for the humble television set by 2018, according to forecasts from ZenithOptimedia, with the gap narrowing from a difference of 13.3% in 2014 to 1.9% in 2017 before the big switch.

Internet advertising will take 34% of global ad spend in 2017 to close the gap on TV’s 35.9% share, and naturally online video will take at least some of the spend that trickles down. 

However, given that TV might be losing some of its shine due to a lack of measurability and declining audience figures (down 3% in the US and 5% in the UK between 2014 – 2015, according to the FT), questions surround the online counterpart’s ability to deliver on similar fronts.

Pursuing clarity

Speaking from the floor at dmexco is the founder and CEO of video marketing platform Pixability, Bettina Hein, who admits that a demand for media transparency and reporting accuracy is bound to be discussed during the shift from TV to online video.

“The online video ecosystem is rife with inventory of questionable value at inflated prices, and arbitrage with outrageous margins is prevalent,” she comments. 

“Smart advertisers will insist on new levels of transparency across their digital campaigns, and smart agencies will define metrics and benchmarks that align with client expectations.”

The migration away from TV is not only affecting advertisers but their platforms, too. Hein states that Google and Facebook have been among the companies taking an aggressive stance on transparency by providing clarification on important fronts, like viewability and the way ads are measured.

Google in particular has been vocal about some of the teething issues that online video appears to be struggling with. An in-house study from the group revealed that only 54% of video ads across some of its own platforms, such as DoubleClick, were viewable, with this rising to 91% on YouTube. 

Locked in

Another likely point of discussion regarding online video for dmexco attendees is some of the ‘walled gardens’ they’ll be fenced into by switching spend from TV to online video. 

Efforts by companies like Google in having some of their primary video ad platforms act as standalones by taking them off open ad exchanges is giving rise to enclosed buying environments, which experts have already branded as “unhealthy” for the marketplace.

At dmexco and the months ahead, Hein sees this point entering plenty of conversations regarding the future of online video.

“A major topic of discussion at dmexco and beyond will be how the dynamics of walled gardens, especially YouTube and Facebook, impact brands’ advertising strategy and media allocation.

“From content strategy to media buying and creator partnerships, the walled garden era introduces significant implications for brand marketers.”

In the meantime, questions revolve around the metrics chosen by video marketers to gauge the success of a campaign. 

Lawrence Horne of online ad firm Say Media took the the writer’s pedestal as early as this week to explain the problems being faced in trying to develop standard metrics to make online video advertising accountable for a desired outcome.

The confusion stems from the varying definitions for ‘views and engagement’, according to Horne, which – among other issues – may have to be ironed out before online video enjoys its time in the spotlight.