Google’s State of Play report for video is recently published, and offers some useful insights into how the global programmatic video market is faring. Overall, video viewability has improved across the industry, which is encouraging to hear, but serious inconsistencies remain between screens, countries and exchanges. Most promising is YouTube, where the average viewability of ads globally has increased to 93%, compared to 91% in 2015. Beyond that, 66% of video ads are viewable on the web and apps (not including YouTube) across desktop, mobile, and tablet; which equates to a 12% increase on last year. It’s worth remembering that viewability is an indicator of whether or not an ad had a chance to be seen; it does not relate to the impact of an ad. Several factors come into play, and the Google report shows how important vigilance is on the part of the advertiser. Brand safety remains a critical consideration, and will do for the foreseeable future. Breaking down the report findings, location appears to be a big factor in viewability, and within Europe alone, scores range from 65% in France to 74% in Spain. Exchanges also present huge disparities in viewability rates. Within the report (see illustration below), Google explains that “average domain viewability and median domain viewability rates vary dramatically across the top seven exchanges where DBM buys video ads. Only one exchange has a median rate over 70%, and four exchanges are under 40%.” The report also highlights how media consumption around the world is changing, with people spending fewer hours watching traditional TV content, and overall time spent watching video, including both online video and offline TV, being higher than ever. According to Google, monthly video consumption reached a total of 177 hours in 2015, with almost half of that being digital. No doubt by the end of this year the balance will have flipped towards online. The video advertising ecosystem can only benefit from this evolution in media habits, it seems. Consequently, as viewership fragments across devices, advertisers need to embrace cross-screen programmatic video strategies, to reach audiences where they are. This explains why video impressions on mobile and tablet grew over 30X in 2015 on DoubleClick Bid Manager. The report findings below show that desktop video viewability continues to lag behind mobile and tablets in 2016. But overall, signs are positive, and of the Ad Age Top 100 advertisers, 85% bought programmatic video on DoubleClick Bid Manager in 2015, and they bought over 590% more programmatic video impressions in 2015 than they did the year before. The Google report concludes that “in this era of all-the-time video and TV viewership, programmatic allows broadcasters, media companies, advertisers and agencies to capitalise on fragmenting viewership patterns. With premium digital content now available programmatically, it’s easier than ever to connect brands to the right audiences, across devices. “Bad ads and viewability are still of concern, but new fraud prevention techniques provide more peace of mind. Advertisers and agencies using programmatic can be confident in the quality of video inventory, and broadcasters and media companies can earn more revenue with smarter, better advertising.” The full report is worth perusing in its entirety, when you have the time.