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.
Brands invest a lot into creating TV ads so it's not surprising that marketers want to get as much value as possible out of the content they've created by using them in digital advertising campaigns.
However, marketers are often repurposing and using TV ads online in pre-roll or mid-roll spots. The ads launch automatically without the device user having any choice in the matter and the TV ads are generally out of context with the content around the ads.
Anyone watching on-demand TV content knows that this is a frustrating ad experience, and it’s even more of an intrusion on the smaller screens of tablets and smartphones.
A study from our R&D department shows that eight out of ten people are annoyed by ads which self-initiate on their handheld devices.
Consumers’ acceptance for interruptions on their digital devices is far lower than on TV, and the ad is considered a significant intrusion to their content consumption.
Online video has always felt to me like one of those technologies where brands have varied massively in their commitment to innovate.
That was kind of understandable until the last couple of years, as YouTube and video streaming (NetFlix, NOW TV,4OD etc) are now so pervasive.
With brands committing to more online video advertising, it’s obvious the technology will be maturing. In effect, what’s possible on your website should now be possible in an online video ad.
As web viewers aren’t captive in the same way live TV viewers are (even they can go and make a cup of tea), advertisers have to get cuter at delivering changing and tailored ad content that is essentially fun or useful enough to be voluntarily engaged with. A tall order?
Well let’s look at what can be achieved? Here are a few examples, mostly taken from Innovid, who I chatted to last week.
Econsultancy showcased stats revealing that interactive online video ads are twice as popular among UK advertisers as their global counterparts and Britons are 60% more likely to interact with them.
So how can advertisers minimise the disruption consumers feel with video ads but maximise interaction?
The seven tips below helped us hit a dismiss rate of just 11% globally for interactive pre-rolls (YouTube/Google’s TrueView dismiss rates are 55%-85%).
Is there anybody on the planet who actually enjoys pre-roll video advertising? Research has shown that 94% of people skip pre-roll ads, though I can't believe the number is that low (presumably the other 6% are masochists).
Pre-roll ads are as loathed as pop-ups, which studies found to be damaging to both advertiser and publisher. I imagine that the same applies to pre-rolls. Have you ever watched one and wanted to buy the product or service that's being (badly) pitched to you?
You have to wonder why they're so popular. Certainly the YouTube experience has considerably worsened since it started putting pre-rolls on a far wider range of ads, and I for one would pay a small fee to have them permanently removed.
Why do pre-roll ads suck so badly? Partly it's the interruption, which is often a lot longer than five seconds, and partly it's because the creative tends to be beyond stupid, but there are plenty of other reasons.
The following quotes and videos reflect all that is wrong with the pre-roll format. If you're the kind of person who likes to snuggle up to Satan by commissioning pre-rolls then you might want to take some notes.
Facebook's drive to monetize its massive user base has caused Instagram's first major backlash. Upset with changes to Instagram's terms of service which would allow the company to leverage user data and content in ads, vocal Instagrammers rose up and said "That's not cool!"
While it remains to be seen whether this Instagram backlash has a short half-life, things could get worse for the world's largest social network next year if it rolls out News Feed video ads.
Despite its many critics, television advertising is a $100bn-plus a year market. So it's not entirely surprising that the market for online video ads has evolved to look a lot like its offline counterpart.
There's the desire, now being realized, for digital up-fronts. There is a growing focus on channels. There are Hollywood-like deal structures. And, of course, the pre-roll is the dominant ad unit.
Despite challenges and turbulence, adoption of real-time bidding (RTB) is growing and expectations are still high that RTB will be able to deliver on its promise.
One of the big questions that lingers, however, is just how big an impact will RTB have on the online advertising ecosystem outside of display. Take video, for instance. Skeptics make interesting points about RTB's potential shortcomings in the video space and suggest that RTB may not be as applicable to video.
Are the skeptics right? That remains to be seen, but in the meantime, RTB continues to make inroads in video. The latest example of that: yesterday VEVO announced the launch of an RTB platform that it will use to move unsold pre-roll ad inventory.
When online video was still nascent, there was a general sense that the advertising models underpinning television would one day be a thing of the past.
But despite the online video boom and the rise of powerful digital distribution platforms like YouTube and Hulu, advertising in online video still looks a lot like advertising on television. Case in point: the pre-roll.
Pre-roll ads may not generally spark excitement in the minds of advertisers, but if they can put product in the hands of customers, that tune could change. According to AdAge, video network Blip.tv has begun rolling out video pre-roll ads that download games directly to viewers' Xbox consoles. The effort may not be scalable, but it could be spark the sort of integrated digital video ads that really appeal to brands.