Making Branded Video Content Work

Great infographic by AdWeek.  Shows us how consumers are open to branded content in video advertising.



Check out the original article at the AdWeek site; by Carrie Cummings.


Give me Online Video ROAS v CPA and ROI

Great eMarketer piece on how brand marketers measure digital video advertising. Brand Marketers need to value video advertising too. eMarketer report below, plus check out the original article (link at bottom) for great graphs.

How Brand Marketers Measure Digital Video Advertising

US brand marketers gauge how well, or otherwise, their digital video ads perform in a variety of different ways. Today, most measure digital video ad performance by looking at site traffic, June 2016 research indicates, but in the next year or two, more respondents want to be able to measure via cost per acquisition.

Brand and media consultancy Sequent Partners and Eyeview, a video marketing technology company, surveyed 202 US brand marketers who worked in the automotive, CPG, retail and travel industries. Respondents all worked for companies that currently buy digital video ads and are involved in their company’s media budget setting and allocation process.

Nearly three-quarters (71%) of brand marketers said they currently determine their digital video ad performance by watching site traffic. And more than half of respondents said they look at their return on investment (ROI). Brand metrics, as well as store traffic, are other ways they currently measure digital video advertising.

When asked how would they want to measure it in the next year or two, site traffic was still the top measurement mentioned. Indeed, 73% of respondents said they would want to measure it that way. Meanwhile, 38% of brand marketers said they would want to measure digital video ad performance by looking at the return on ad sales (ROAS). To compare, just 29% of respondents said they measure it that way today.

And one of the biggest differences was that nearly two-thirds of brand marketers said they would want to measure digital video ad performance by the cost per acquisition, order or sale. Only 40% of respondents said they do just that today.

Measuring effectiveness across devices and content platforms is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. June 2016 research from ad tech firm FreeWheel of ads on its network found that completion rates were better with larger screens and longer content. In Q1 2016, completion rates for US digital video ads on over-the-top (OTT) devices such as connected TVs were 93%, compared with 78% for smartphones and rates in between for tablets and desktops.

See original 11/14/16 article and great graphs at eMarketer



Future of Video Advertising


All Platforms & Channels

Columnist Thomas Stern discusses best practices for video advertising across a wide variety of platforms and channels, including mobile, display and social.

The comprehensive guide to video advertising in 2016

Increasingly, consumers are cutting their ties to traditional media and turning to digital video for discovery, entertainment and brand awareness. BI Intelligence reports that in 2016, digital video will reach nearly $5 billion in ad revenue due to developing delivery channels, amplified engagement and the highest average click-through rate (1.84 percent) of any digital format.

Cross-channel video advertising has transformed how brands reach users at key points of the customer journey and influence conversions with highly engaging media. Digital video advertising empowers brands to build stronger connections along the path to purchase with niche-focused content delivered across an increasing variety of digital channels and connected devices.

Over the last few years, research firms such as eMarketer have tracked the maturing value of display advertising, noting extensive growth across all digital channels since 2013. Display ad spend from video, banner ads, rich media and sponsorships is set to surpass total ad spend for search advertising this year. This shows that marketers are flocking to more visual and connected forms of advertising that adapt to changing user behaviors.

Today’s users expect advertising to be brief, targeted and convenient. Consumers engage with content at a feverish pace and scroll past ads that fail to capture their attention.

Video advertising creates a more stimulating environment for consumers by meeting their expectations for content. It allows brands to quickly inform and visually entertain, which generates a powerful platform for conversion when accurately targeted across user behavior patterns.

In this article, I offer marketers some insights to help leverage a variety of targeting opportunities and delivery techniques to create effective cross-channel video advertising campaigns.

With integration throughout content networks, brands can deliver extremely relevant, engaging videos to users across social, mobile and traditional outlets — improving brand awareness, conversions and retention.

Don’t surrender your market share to competitors. Expand your digital reach with video advertising that connects your target audience segments with the digital content experiences they desire.

Cross-channel video impacts purchases

The structure of video advertising is changing as the range of digital content continues to expand. With more channels for delivery and improved targeting features, video advertising now allows brands to reach audience segments across their preferred platforms to stimulate the highest levels of ROI.

Cross-channel video campaigns connect with users across websites, social networks, mobile devices and connected TVs, delivering content fluidly along different touch points of a consumer’s journey. This increased exposure with engaging, targeted content positions brands for purchase in an increasingly competitive landscape.

Imagine the progression a user goes through when making a big purchase like a car. They initiate the process by building a consideration set of possible brands and models that fit their needs. As users collect information across relevant and trusted sources, video ads can reach users on those sites with content targeted around the needs specific to different stages of search (such as product information or nearby stores). Additionally, video ads can reactivate a user’s search by connecting during lulls in their research process with social, mobile and programmatic TV advertising.

Successful cross-channel video advertising campaigns will reach users with targeted content across their entire path to purchase and identify their point of conversion. Actionable exposure can aid conversion whether users encounter video display ads on trusted websites, in-stream videos from their mobile device, sponsored content across social networks or targeted video content displayed across connected TV devices.

Visibility at each of these touch points allows users to build trust and awareness with your brand. Enhance your overall value with connected strategies in each of the following video platforms.

In-stream video advertising

In-stream video ads display content within a video player before, during or after a piece of video content. This is a great way to target niche audience segments already searching for video content to solve a need.

Typically, 15- to 30-second pre-roll video ads are used to display an advertisement before a video begins. According to Google, these ads are most effective when focused around branding, as conversion rates are often lower than with other forms.

Keep your message tight, and offer value to users with as little disruption as possible. Many in-stream ads can be skipped after five seconds, so convey your message quickly, and incorporate strong calls to action early in your video.

Direct traffic from your ads to additional video content on your website to foster a user’s video experience and further stimulate engagement. Ensure that you create a positive experience for users by directing traffic to relevant landing pages that correlate with the targeting used initially to trigger a view. Incorporate remarketing code on your landing pages to continue delivering targeted ads that grow awareness and stimulate conversion as users move around the web.

Display video advertising

Advanced audience targeting allows your brand to display relevant video content within banner ads and text links on the sites users already explore and trust. This lets brands piggyback on the authority these pages hold, building trust and driving conversions with targeted solutions.

For example, a user may come to a site to view an article about designer shoes and experience a targeted auto-play video from a shoe retailer in place of a standard banner ad. This can be an effective way to stimulate action from users already engaged in discovery and at key points in their research process.

To be successful, ensure that you and your media buyer have a good understanding of audience segments targeted within campaigns. Align your video content with relevant user interests and websites to improve the impact of your investments. To increase retention and ROI, make your content actionable, with clear value and strong calls to action displayed early within an ad.

Additionally, display ads can be a good platform to draw additional engagement with interactive and expandable media that rewards users who click to learn more.

Social video advertising

Social media networks offer a unique platform to deliver video content that goes beyond promotional advertising. Unlike in-stream and display advertising, videos advertised within social media channels are inherently more shareable, as they are well integrated within the content users have come to interact with. Additionally, sponsored videos within social networks often look very similar to organic content and are equipped with additional features that allow users to share, like and discuss.

Most social platforms allow marketers to share videos directly in the news feeds of targeted audience segments, which can stimulate additional reach organically. Create video content tailored around the detailed user interests and demographics accessible in social channels, and leverage paid amplification to heighten exposure and engagement.

On some social networks, marketers can choose to have videos silently auto-play. Adapt content to offer value and stimulate interest without sound.

According to a study from Locowise, viewers on Facebook watch videos for 18.2 seconds on average, despite the average video length being 55.3 seconds. By incorporating compelling content and imagery within the first three seconds of videos, brands can increase viewing and retention rates from social videos. Furthermore, make sure your thumbnails are compelling enough to encourage users to stop scrolling and engage with your content. Combined, these tactics can lower your cost per acquisition and enhance conversion rates.

Mobile video advertising

According to eMarketer, digital video advertising spend will double by 2019 in response to a surge in mobile video. With mobile leading online access, user trends in content consumption have shifted. There is a massive, growing market of mobile consumers looking for quick, valuable and relevant content on the go.

As recent data from Cisco suggests, video is the preferred content platform for mobile users and will soon make up two-thirds of mobile online traffic. To be visible in such a fast-paced market, brands must adapt to changes in consumer behavior.

Digital-Video-Ad-SpendMobile video advertising presents many of the same targeting and delivery options as desktop, with two distinct advantages. First, studies from Google and Ipsos have found that mobile video holds more attention and provides additional opportunities for real-time engagement.

Second, 68 percent of video on mobile devices is non-skippable, according to the Mobile Marketing Association. This means your mobile views are more valuable and present the opportunity for higher completion and click rates.

To take advantage of this opportunity, keep your videos actionable, between 16 and 30 seconds long, and develop content that adapts to different screen sizes. Additionally, coding videos in HTML5 VPAID allows marketers to run interactive pre-roll/mid-roll/post-roll video regardless of device, screen size or most in-application environments.


Programmatic TV advertising

Perhaps the most exciting advancement in video advertising is programmatic TV, which allows marketers to deliver digital video advertising through television sets. Instead of conventional show ratings, this platform leverages advanced audience data to deliver targeted videos to niche segments already engaged with related video content.

Unlike traditional channels, programmatic TV advertising allows brands to deliver highly focused and measurable video content across connected TV, linear TV and addressable TV outlets, creating value and operational efficiency for marketers and consumers.

Create your video content to be flexible with all screen sizes, as users may be streaming from large smart TVs or small mobile devices. Programmatic TV advertising allows for extremely niche targeting to user segments already watching video content and comfortable with video advertisements. Additionally, targeting features expand audience reach, allowing marketers to retarget website visitors who did not convert, competitors’ customers and user segments as they move across devices.

Video advertising best practices

To get the most out of your video advertising, develop a cross-channel strategy that incorporates a variety of delivery methods to engage users at all stages of the discovery process and across all devices.

Video exposure throughout their path to purchase can grow awareness and improve conversion rates. Regardless of your video advertising platform, keep the following best practices in mind:

  • Invest in quality production.
  • Cater video content to devices and audience interests.
  • Leverage audience data to keep content targeting relevant.
  • Implement retargeting to track users across devices.
  • Pay by view or completion to keep impressions and conversions high.
  • Monitor video shares, channel subscribers and site traffic.
  • Establish goals in your analytics platform to track online conversions.
  • Display strong calls to action at the beginning and end of videos.
  • Tell your story with and without sound.
  • Incorporating compelling content and imagery within the first three seconds of videos.


wrote this for Marketing Land.  See original article here .


Incentives to Bypass Ad Blockers

More Marketers Offer Incentives for Watching Ads

Delivering ads to people seeking rewards may help combat ad fraud and viewability challenges

Marketers are increasingly employing a tried-and-true tactic to get people to watch their ads: bribery.

Some ad buyers believe that the direct approach may go over better with consumers than traditional ads that interrupt or try to distract people from content, while also helping solve several major pain points in digital advertising.

Indeed, advertisers continue to grapple with fundamental issues in their digital campaigns: whether their ads can actually be seen and whether the ads are even reaching real people. Because of these challenges, offering consumers free stuff in exchange for watching ads—known in the industry as “incentivized ads”—may be gaining acceptance among more established brands and media companies.

That’s because many such ads appear within social or mobile games, where users have either logged in or provided some identifying information. Or the ads are delivered on websites geared for people interested in earning free items to be redeemed in the real world where they are required to register with their real names.

For example, a marketer might provide consumers with more lives or weapons in a videogame or reward points for gift cards in exchange for viewing their ads—typically video ads. In either case, advertisers may feel more comfortable that they are reaching an actual person, since most fraudsters can’t teach bots to register on these types of sites, let alone play mobile games.

Established brands from Microsoft to Chevrolet to Purina have employed incentivized ads over the past few years.

Advocates for incentive-based ads contend that these kinds of ads are more palatable on mobile devices, where people can be annoyed by ads that interrupt their experience. They say these ads work particularly well in mobile games, which have natural breaks in the action.

Incentivized advertising has been around for years. But the overt nature of it has also long carried a stigma, as some advertisers consider this form of exposure less legitimate than when people encounter ads through more traditional channels. They see it as “bribing” people to watch an ad instead of hoping they’ll find it on their own and then deem the ad entertaining or useful. For example,recently several publishers and advertisers called into question AOL’s practice of driving people to view their videos via websites that exist primarily to reward people for watching ads.

But the advertising industry is quickly evolving and facing new challenges. Some digital ad experts predict that more brands will employ incentivized ads to help combat the growing problems of ad fraud and viewability, plus the mainstream adoption of ad-blocking software.

Sony’s free streaming video service Crackle has even used the incentive site Zoombucks to drive people to watch series like “Dilbert” and “The Real Ghostbusters,” even as it looks to build out a premium video-on-demand offering. Similarly, Hulu is currently using Zoombucks to incite people to download its mobile app. People on Zoombucks earn points by watching Crackle videos or downloading Hulu’s app, and the points can then be redeemed for products or gift cards to retailers like Target and Amazon.com.

But perhaps more typical are advertisers driving consumers to their ads and content during mobile games. For example, people playing the mobile game Nibblers could receive a “free booster” to help improve their play by watching a video from Reuters. That campaign was executed by Jun Group.

For such brands, the thinking is, “they are giving a gift to their customers, as it creates positive association,” said Shenan Reed, president of digital for North America at the media buying agency MEC. “It’s really the same as having to watch YouTube pre-rolls to get to free videos.”

Mitchell Reichgut, chief executive at Jun Group, claims his company has executed incentive-based ad campaigns for 40% of top 200 advertisers. The company raised $28 million in funding last summer.

“We see the value exchange [model] as perfect for mobile, where you just can’t afford to interrupt users,” he said. Mr. Reichgut acknowledged that some brands take time to get used to the concept of incentive-based video advertising. “But we think rest of the industry will catch up to us.”

Peter Horan, a veteran digital media investor and former chief executive at IAC’s media and advertising group, agrees. He argues that incentive-based ads will be a growing trend in 2016. Not only because advertisers are looking to gain more confidence that their ads are being seen, but because publishers are looking for ways to better create reliable revenue streams, particularly in light of the growth of ad blocking.

“Consumers have struck back with ad blocking as a counter to the scorched eyeball tactics of marketers,” he said. “We need new models for value exchange between readers and publishers. I believe that, in the future, this value exchange will be much more explicit.”

The explicit nature of these ads aren’t for everyone. Ms. Reed said she’d likely not recommend these ads for luxury advertisers, for example, since the environment of these sites may not match the aesthetic these high-end brands are looking for.

And while Jun Group touts its use of incentivized ads, AOL says sites like Zoombucks represent a small part of its video business. The same goes for Virool, a Web video ad company that bills itself as a leader in delivering “native video ads,” which are video ads that are woven in between paragraphs of text on content sites and only play when a person scrolls past them while reading these articles.

“Incentivized advertising works for some yet many others are staunchly against leveraging it,” said Alex Debelov, Virool’s chief executive. “However, our philosophy is not to take a position on one’s perceived quality of inventory.” Virool uses third-party technology to make sure that sites like Zoombucks deliver only high-quality traffic, he added.

It’s crucial that advertisers know what they are paying for. It’s a problem if they don’t fully understand what types of incentives consumers are being provided, said Alan Smith, chief digital officer at the ad firm Assembly. “The key is to know what they are buying,” he said.

While some brands are O.K. with providing game credits because they believe those consumers are deeply engaged with the game, they may be more wary of running ads on sites where people are just racking up points for free stuff by watching lots of videos they may or may not care about, said Ms. Reed.

Still, Mr. Horan said the advertising business is going to have to get over any preconceived notions about how pure the relationship once was between marketers and consumers.

“Free media was never free, it was ad-supported,” he said. “On the Web, the old broadcast push model is increasingly dysfunctional. I think a lot of the holier-than-thou crap is people’s natural resistance to change.”

First published Jan 5, 2016 by Mike Shields in WSJ.  See the original.



Video Ads- Actual Views or Huge Audience?

How to Pick Sides in the Battle Between Huge Viewership and Actual Viewers


Brands want as many people to watch their video ads as possible. But they only want to pay for the people who actually watch their videos. Facebook’s autoplay video ads cover the former; YouTube’s skippable TrueView spots offer the latter. How’s an advertiser to choose?

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Video Advertising Gets Personal

National brands recognize that a local presence can create the connection to drive a sale. In fact, that community connection is often a requirement.  Auto makers have known this for years, which is why we see national safety and feature ads on TV, but also the hometown dealers talking about promotions with their own shop as the backdrop.

Technically, it is not a leap to recognize that online video advertising will need to become customized as video ads grow increasingly important and snap network TV ad dollars.  Interactive advertising allows product-specific, geo-targeted delivery for text and static images.  But one company has now raised almost $20M trying to prove they can make the leap into that personalized space for video ads as well.  Competitors are sure to jump in shortly.

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video + controversy = viral

A Great Summer for Three at Least

There has been no shortage of drama over online videos this summer and people are sharing them like crazy.  The three I find most interesting are Roxy’s surfer girl ad and the Johnny Walker one featuring Bruce Lee, plus Justin Bieber taking a leak — the third (older video) is not professionally produced, though arguably timed to be released when his buzz was at a lul.

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Smart Way to Promote

The Australian ‘Dumb Ways to Die’ created to promote train safety has been highly successful: viral, spun to a video game, and reached beyond its intended audience.  The video has won over 25 awards.  It reminds me of the 1980s “Don’t Mess with Texas” campaign to clean up litter.  The entire state has embraced it as a motto representing far more than eliminating trash.


Staying on Top of Digital Format

This video advertising stuff just won’t go away.  Keep in mind: (a) it’s targeted; (b) advertisers are bundling it with TV ad buys; and (c) interactivity is the secret sauce.

Decent report by eMarketer out 5/14/13 indicates online video advertising will reach $7BN next year:

Online Video Advertising Moves Front and Center

Video and TV often bought together

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