By Mark Connolly, commercial director, Adconion Media Group.
According to a report released by eMarketer earlier this year, the UK online video viewing audience grew by 10 percent during the past year to almost 30 million unique viewers.
Another report revealed that BBC iPlayer is one of the most heavily visited websites in the country. With more and more people consuming video content online, it should come as no surprise then that online video is one of the fastest growing ad categories in the UK.
With all this buzz and excitement around online video, it is therefore imperative that brands and marketers understand online video's power to reach target widespread audiences, while building online brand presence. Here are five essential areas that you need to cover in order to ensure that your first foray into online video is successful:
1. Know your target audience
As with any other marketing exercise, it is crucial that you understand your target audience before embarking on an online video campaign.
It is easy here for marketers new to the medium to get caught up with the similarities with TV; however, unlike TV, online video allows you to extend your audience understanding far beyond mere demographic information.
With online technologies advancing at an exponential rate, savvy marketers can now use behavioural and other targeting technologies to closely define their target audiences.
This means having the ability to not only target, say, 16-24 year old men, living in the south of England, but instead those who have also demonstrated a previous interest in your product or brand, either by searching for it online or actively clicking on ads within your category.
This can be further extended using re-targeting, which allows marketers to put an online video ad in front of someone who has already visited the brands website or clicked on one of its advertisements, thus increasing their likelihood to engage further with a video creative.
2. Use the medium to its full potential
Many marketers using online video for the first time start off with in-stream video (which includes pre, post and mid-roll). This is a natural choice, as in-stream is the obvious extension from TV its a linear experience and the viewer knows what to expect.
However, as mentioned before, by its very nature, online offers far more interactivity than TV. The obvious example being in-banner video, which is not only more interactive, but is also targetable. While in-stream video is a great way to engage with viewers, its essential that marketers looking to use online video embrace it for its best qualities.
Online video merges the boundaries between TV and digital, and branding and performance. You could say it combines the best bits of TV advertising with online response. That is engaging and entertaining content and easy to click through to action.
Put simply, running a pre-roll ad is not enough. Instead, combine all the opportunities of online so run a banner ad to generate initial interest and then retarget with an online video creative. Or use a pre-roll video, and then retarget the viewer with in-banner video ads, supported with targeted display advertising.
3. Be impactful with your creative
This seems obvious enough, but one of the initial traps that many marketers fall into when considering online video taking existing TV collateral and putting it online. Clever marketers can take advantage of the absence of an online creative regulator, doing much more with online video advertising than is possible with TV.
Moreover, remember that online is a performance medium as well as a branding medium and can be a lot more engaging, targeted, dynamic and response driven. Any online video creative must therefore reflect the versatility of the medium. To put it simply, dont just take TV ads and bung them online, because your brand and your consumer both deserve more!
4. Understand the difference between pre-roll and in-banner video opportunities
As mentioned above, do not fall into the trap of thinking that online video is just pre-roll. Pre-roll is a fantastic way to align your brand with content that would be attractive to your target audiences.
However, with pre-roll, the viewer has to actively seek out the content in order to engage. Online video has traditionally been driven by the site destination pull model (a la YouTube). While still an important part of an online video campaign, the pull model is limited by its lack of targeting and interactivity; not to mention limited reach.
In-banner video addresses this limitation by pushing out interactive video experiences. This allows marketers to reach far wider audiences than they might have if using only pre-roll.
Moreover, they can then sequentially target (remember, the combination of in-stream, in banner and display I mentioned earlier?), and drive the campaign forward through the use of varied online advertising methods.
5. Finally, don’t be overwhelmed by jargon
Contrary to appearances, online video advertising does not need to be difficult. Having outlined your campaign objectives, defined your audience and produced your creative, its easy to get bogged down in a plethora of jargon that can get in the way of your campaign going live.
Work closely with your media buying agency to insure that your delivery metrics (i.e. Cost Per Millions, Cost Per Acquisition, or Cost Per Engagement) are what you need them to be and then lean back and let the media agency worry about the rest. Focus on what you do best and let your media agency worry about the jargon.
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