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The Impact of Content on Ad Gaps

Content drives how users engage with CTV and impacts at least a few ad gaps. We’ll look at average session duration across a collection of U.S. channels delivered to a number of CTV distribution platforms.

Tighten Up Your Ad Gaps

Different channels have significantly different characteristics; some engage users to have long viewing sessions (e.g., marathon channels) and some do not. Unsurprisingly, channels with long viewing sessions have fewer ad gaps, measured in the figure below using the use rate. Viewers of longer sessions are less likely to leave at any ad break they encounter, compared to viewers of short sessions, who leave after encountering fewer ad breaks. 

So the rate of abandonment of requested ads, which is a significant driver of use rate reduction, will be lower. Perhaps even more interesting is the fact that some channels induce three times longer sessions than others! The trend of the use rate can vary up to 10% over this range, which is a significant differential when thought about as a change in revenue.

Use rate versus Average Session Duration
Channels with long viewing sessions have fewer ad gaps.

What accounts for the change of use rate for a fixed average session duration? Many things, most of which are listed in previous installments of this blog

Is There a Perfect Ad Load to Minimize Ad Gaps?

Ad load is the number of minutes per hour set aside for ads. One could expect content with higher ad load to lead to higher user abandonment rates – after all, people don’t like boring, uncreative ads – the graph show that truth. Between 6 minutes and 18 minutes per hour of ad load gives a trend of about 10% difference in use rate again. All other things being equal, content owners may be better off taking the bigger ad load and lower use rate, since without other data, this looks like it maximizes revenue. 

But all other things aren’t usually equal, so it’s worth reflecting on other metrics that ad load may drive, such as user churn and overall number of viewers. We see wider variation across channels with a fixed ad load, so that you can’t just fix all your problems by adjusting your ad load.

Use rate versus Ad Load
Content with a higher ad load can lead to higher user abandonment rates.

Fight Ad Gaps with this Trick

What can we take away from this data? Content counts. 

Good content delivers more revenue through fewer ad gaps, as does content that doesn’t annoy viewers with lots of ad breaks. However, there is a complex tradeoff between more ads and fewer ad gaps. Wurl is committed to helping our customers increase use rate and banishing ad gaps whenever we can!

To learn more about how Wurl can help you increase your use rates, contact your Wurl account representative

If you missed the previous posts in the series about unfilled ad slots – or ad gaps – check out the previous posts describing what ad gaps are and the impact CTV viewing:

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