Video advertising is not just another name for commercials

The author of this post is Greg Roth, vp of social at Celtra.

It’s easy to think of video advertising as a repository for repurposed TV content.  Hundreds of mega-brands have YouTube channels filled with the TV spots that we’ve all figured out how to avoid, thanks to DVR and Netflix. As mobile devices and tablets continue their exponential infiltration of American homes, it’s becoming increasingly important for marketers to reconsider the traditional model of filmed advertising syndication, in favor of more interactive experiences in which video is a piece in a larger puzzle.

Before making the leap into cross-channel video advertising, take heed of these four guidelines to ensure that your next campaign is a success.

Don’t default to default players

In the past, advertising on mobile devices has been a relatively static discipline. Banner ads served as conduits to other sites – and video ads were relegated to their homes on video channels like YouTube. Running video ads on smartphones necessitated the opening of the device’s native player – which limited the advertiser’s ability to house their video content within an environment that made sense both aesthetically and contextually.

In the past two years, advancements in connection speed and streaming technology have eliminated the need to drive traffic away from your ad. Video ads can now run in-line, which empowers marketers to match the player’s branding to their own and set custom options for auto-play and volume.  Most importantly, video can now serve as a single element within a more interactive ad interface. In fact, marketers need to stop thinking about banner ads as billboards – and start thinking of them as mini-apps, which can engage users with layers of functionality and interactivity.

Capture eyeballs, then engage

Most brands don’t have limitless budgets to create original video content that will resonate with targeted audiences across digital touch points. As a result, most advertisers fall back on a video advertising strategy that boils down to repurposing commercials intended for television.  As mobile video advertising continues to grow, marketers need to think beyond ‘views’ and consider the addition of on-brand design elements and interactivity to make their advertising more engaging.

The marriage of rich media to video creates limitless possibilities for reinvigorating content created for other channels. Rich media adds an event/action element to digital advertising – which makes it possible to capture a user’s attention with a video, and subsequently engage that user with additional content designed to ease them through the conversion funnel towards your ultimate goal.

Leverage video intelligence

Video provides some of the most valuable performance data in any marketer’s arsenal.  We’ve gone beyond quartiles (a measurement that relates how many viewers watched through the first or third quarter of the video) to a deeper data set that can even pinpoint the areas within your video that garnered the most attention – or the most rewinds.  This is particularly important for entertainment and media marketers – who essentially use video ads as short-form teasers of their longer content.

In August of 2014, Marvel will release Guardians of the Galaxy – the first of their films that doesn’t feature a cast of instantly recognizable characters. A teaser trailer was launched in February to start building excitement for the summer release of the film. A deep look at data from the teaser launch could help Marvel’s marketing team determine which characters and clips resonated most with their audience.

Subsequent trailers, marketing materials, and merchandising can be built around early video audience performance data to maximize the chances that awareness and advocacy are peaking in the weeks leading up to the movie’s release.

Context drives placement

The massive amount of inventory available across multiple devices makes it easy to reach a wide audience.  But, advertising in a connected world isn’t about going wide, it’s about reaching a highly qualified target audience.

The potential big win for marketers is the ripe in-app landscape. Most popular apps are home to a dedicated, captive audience, but despite the significant amount of daily traffic, most don’t offer native ad formats that take advantage of the larger canvas afforded to interstitials. In-app interstitials are served at natural transition points in navigation, which makes them more visible to consumers.

These native ad placements can drive tremendous success, but keep in mind that context is key. For many verticals, browser-based mobile ads still make the most sense, as the range of placements offered by publishing partners allows ads to be targeted at the most qualified audience from the most relevant sites.

There are many ingredients to winning with mobile video, but remember, you can cook the world’s best pork chop, but no one’s going to eat it, if you serve it at a kosher restaurant.


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