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TV advertising budgets are slowly moving online. Even so, online video advertising represents about 3% of TV budgets.

In 10 years the figures will look different. Perhaps 25% or 30%. Or perhaps TV will change significantly.

Recent developments in online video advertising include richer formats, such as interactive ecommerce catalogues, games, dynamic location-based ads, social integration.

With change occurring in the market, it feels like a good time to re-assess online video advertising. Aside from recommending our formidable Online Video Best Practice Guide, I thought I’d write some rules for online video ads of the future.

Major tip of the hat here, as these ideas are partly taken from Pierre Chappaz, Founder and CEO of Ebuzzing, and a talk he gave at December 2013’s Le Web.

Copying TV formats is not the way

Looking forward, online cannot simply copy TV ad formats, which is essentially what pre-roll is (forced to watch an ad playing before and between content you want to watch). Pre-roll is passive advertising but is actively annoying users.

If you are forcing users to watch a video, give a choice of videos based on browsing history if possible and make the users select one. Brand recall will improve.

Pre-roll won’t reach everyone

Only 52% of online audiences are reachable with in-stream video (pre-roll), the other 48% have to be reached by correctly seeding a video ad via social media and other forms of online media.

It’s important to know that audiences online are diffuse and this should impact your strategy. Having a socially successful video is the dream.

Using influencers across blog networks as well as more premium networks is another tactic to consider.

Relevancy applies to video ads, too

The right context and the right format is needed to generate engagement when placing a video ad with paid media or social media.

No longer should ads be served confidently without knowledge of audience and context. This could mean using the browsing history of the user or automatically digesting a publisher’s content to ensure only relevant ads are served.

Although native advertising is an alternative to a paywall, placing videos within an article that open on scrolling should be done carefully and again in appropriate content.

Pricing needs to wise up to CPV

Of course, brands prefer to pay on a CPV (cost per view) model than a CPM (cost per impression) model.

Defining a view is tricky, but the industry is becoming more transparent.

Here's a fairly obvious chart showing that clickthrough happens much more often on viewable ads.

Choose the best of myriad formats

Do you want store locations to dynamically show in the video pane, or an ecommerce store to be clickable and shoppable in window. Maybe you just want to give users the ability to share from within the video.

Engagement is measurable

Engagement can be in the form of becoming a fan on Facebook, visiting a website, testing a product or buying the product from within a video.

All of this happens quicker and hence with greater efficacy than it might have done going from TV to online. There should be no discontinuity between the ad and engagement.

Quality of experience is important

If your viewers are clicking to play, and that’s desirable, why should the ad be in a small player? Movie trailers should be shown in HD on a full-screen pop out window, as should the best brand content if it’s really worth watching.

Creative needs to be great and can be tested

Testing ad creative can be achieved by analysing facial expressions of a sample audience as they watch an ad. This is useful for benchmarking creative and is being undertaken by Ebuzzing and MIT.

Mobile offers more opportunities

Mobile advertising is fairly poor. The smaller screen ensures users are annoyed even quicker than when using a tablet or desktop.

If you’re going to use a click-to-play video on mobile, using a fairly small call-to-action may be advised, perhaps one that then opens up a landing page with more information as well as a video. You want to be sure that if a video doesn’t load, there’s more for the user.

Social platforms are a good way to reach mobile users. A shorter video is going to work better on mobile.

Aim for the branding power of TV with the engagement of digital

That’s what the best online video advertising can achieve. 

Ben Davis

Published 13 February, 2014 by Ben Davis @ Econsultancy

Ben Davis is a senior writer at Econsultancy. He lives in Manchester, England. You can contact him at ben.davis@econsultancy.com, follow at @herrhuld or connect via LinkedIn.

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Comments (1)

Simon Gornick

Simon Gornick, Owner at Moovd LLC

Don't underestimate the power of simplicity in video advertising. Differentiating your content with a bold and powerful format - like kinetic typography can be very effective. Too much clutter and over-egging the bells and whistles ( pardon the mixed metaphor ) can be bad for brand awareness and retention.

over 2 years ago

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