Move Over TV – Brands Are Tuning Into Digital Video Ads

We’re just a couple of months away from this year’s TV Upfronts, the start of the new TV ad buying season, but what was once a strictly offline event now has buyers thinking about the Web.

In part, this is because networks are investing more heavily in online initiatives. Take Cartoon Network, which recently announced a glut of new digital programming, including an effort called Always On that makes original and acquired series available to viewers any time through multiple mobile platforms. Later this year the company will debut Cartoon Network Anything, a mobile-only “micro-network” comprised of apps, games, and 10- to 15-second videos that will offer native advertising opportunities for brands.

The structure of this new network reflects the changing media landscape: consumers’ devotion to – and dependence on – Internet media and mobile devices, and advertisers’ resultant interest in embracing them. Over the past year, the digital marketing industry has seen several major video developments that stand to alter the way we think about reaching viewers. Let’s take a look.

Interactive Video Ads Get a Stamp of Approval

About a year ago the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) introduced a collection of new-to-market digital video ad units that were attained through its Rising Stars program, an industry competition designed to encourage creativity in digital brand advertising. The winning units included the Filmstrip, Ad Control Bar, Time Sync, Extender, and Full Screen, all of which are interactive.

After months of testing and experimentation in the field, it was announced last month that all five units were inducted into the IAB Standard Ad Portfolio, the organization’s stable of recommended formats. According to the organization, digital video ads can produce increased brand awareness of up to 50 percent and boost message association by more than 30 percent compared with non-interactive video formats. Interaction rates and completion rates are typically higher as well.

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Odds are good that the units will find a home in many a campaign as the demand for online video advertising among digital media buyers continues to grow. Last week, eMarketer reported that U.S. video ad spending increased by more than 44 percent in 2013 to $4.18 billion. In 2014 it’s expected to reach $5.89 billion, and that number will keep growing until, by 2018, investment in video spending could top $12 billion.

Social Site Video Ad Opportunities Expand

Meanwhile, publishers are upping their video offerings in an effort to attract TV budgets. Earlier this month Facebook officially launched Premium Video Ads, a long-awaited move that will afford advertisers the ability to reach Facebook audiences with 15-second videos – the same length as the videos on Facebook-owned Instagram. The program has been in beta since December, and the social network will continue to work with “a select group of advertisers” for now in order to gauge effectiveness and consumer response.

Facebook reports the ads will be sold in a similar manner to TV, using Targeted Gross Rating Points “to reach a specific audience over a short period of time.” Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings (OCR) will measure ad delivery. It’s been speculated that the ads will run for $1 million to $2.5 million per day.

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On Twitter, advertisers continue to boost their TV ad spends by engaging social media users through Twitter Amplify. The program allows broadcasters to tweet video clips from their offline programming, along with highlights and real-time content. Brands can purchase pre-roll placements or video unit skins that appear within the broadcaster’s video tweets, as demonstrated by FedEx’s partnership with PGA Tour, and Spanish-language sports network Fox Deportes’ recent partnership with Heineken.

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The digital video marketplace isn’t evolving to adapt to the new way consumers engage with moving pictures on small screens: it’s undergoing a complete mutation that will forever change the face of media. TV, display advertising, mobile, and social will all be affected.

Where will digital video go next?

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