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How to get ahead in online video advertising

How to get ahead in online video advertising

By Sean Crawford, VP of international business,

Online video advertising, already a significant part of the digital media landscape in the US, is gaining considerable momentum - and therefore budget - in the United Kingdom.  A recent report predicted that almost two-thirds of media buyers would increase their video-on-demand spend by 25% or more in the next six months.

However, as online advertisers in the UK start to spend their advertising pounds on this ‘new’ channel, it is important that they make key initial checks to ensure they obtain a proper ROI.
In particular, brands, agencies and marketers need to know what they’re buying in order to understand the true value of their video ad purchases.  This may not seem like a complicated proposition, but the complex digital advertising landscape makes it challenging.

Buyers should therefore make the following checks before placing a video ad buy in order to ensure their placement will work hard for them:
Relevant content

The web is littered with examples of poorly targeted ads due to the de-coupling of audience and content. Video is an advertising environment that requires a reversal of this trend so that the right audience is connected to the right content. Yes, the ads cost more but they are more effective. If the ad doesn’t match the content in some way, its impact is reduced and the opportunity wasted.  

Video player type

Nobody worries about how a display ad gets delivered and it doesn’t matter if you use Atlas or Dart, or let a publisher serve it - the ad ultimately gets on the page with little fuss.  This is not the case with online video advertising. There are over 70 online video players (OVP’s) and that’s just on the sellers’ side.  Buy-side tools, like third-party ad servers, were not designed to deliver multi-megabyte video files across billions of streams. They were not built for today’s real-time media buy. With third-party data, verification, rich media and brand studies attached to it, trafficking a video ad is very different from display or search. This should be settled before any video campaign goes live.

Page position

Video buyers need to know the different types of video ad – and ensure they are buying what meets their needs.  Linear in-stream pre-roll is above the fold and on a page where the only other advertisements on that page are companions or mastheads of the video advertiser.  In contrast, in-banner, auto play, below the fold placements are increasingly being thrown into the ‘video’ bucket. Because TV is generally not a cluttered ad environment, video ad buyers need to see and understand the online placement location in the same way that they do for television.

Ad type

Advertisements placed in linear in-stream content, either as pre, mid or post-roll are the most valuable form of video advertising. The viewer is engaged in content they have chosen to watch, and the ad is in a prominent and uncluttered environment.   The alternative is a video ad placed within a masthead or tower banner ad, which often plays as soon as webpage is opened or runs easily with an accidental mouse-over.  This is not necessarily a criticism of the in-banner video unit – more a reinforcement of the point that the buyer needs to know what their budget is buying.

All-important metrics

Video advertising enables the digital industry to finally bid farewell to the increasingly disputed click-through rate of measurement.  Instead, more meaningful metrics, including if the ad was watched and by whom and for how long can be considered, along with social statistics such as whether the viewer shared or Tweeted the ad.  Here online video advertising offers a huge advantage over its TV equivalent, because this information can be incorporated into a data profile that enables more effective targeting.  Buyers need to demand these metrics from any seller, no matter how big or small the buy.  
To conclude – the checks are simple.  The key to success is to ensure insight, such as where the ad is running and alongside what content, as well as how it is delivered and measured. The premium price commanded by online video should be matched by the attention it receives to get it right.

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