As an industry, we are currently at an inspiring crossroads. The means of video production has dramatically decreased, and online video advertising is finally distinguishing itself as a separate medium. However, the prevailing use of precious online video inventory is simply repurposing 15 to 30 second TV commercials. While strides have been made to dress up these ads with fantastic interactive and social features, the full opportunity for brands is still being missed – the narrative opportunity. By creating and targeting custom ads, brands can generate a longer, more engaging brand experience, extend the reach of their buys through earned views, and actually trim waste!
An inherently lean-forward experience, online video offers advertisers the opportunity to capture a viewer’s attention in the moment of anticipation: a prime opportunity to offer wholly new distractions for viewers who want to engage. Advertisers can tease exciting new narratives with instant gratification through a click of the mouse. Viewers have the opportunity to pause their current experience and engage more thoroughly with a brand’s message. By working with celebrities, musicians and pro-athletes, brands can craft engaging entertainment content that moves viewers from a modest 15-second pre-roll spot to a full-length narrative engagement experience forging a deeper relationship with the audience.
Earning extra views
In addition to extending the experience with a single viewer, one of the other attractive perks of video is that it’s intrinsically social. Viewers who engage have the opportunity to share with friends, family members and colleagues on social networks and social video sites. A great creative execution coupled with the right exposure and buzz can drive earned viewership through the roof. For example, this year’s Super Bowl ads earned over $1 million in earned media after just three days. And while TV was a primary driver, the most successful ad, VW’s “The Force,” actually premiered online before the game and was propelled by paid online placements.
Last year, Dynamic Logic released a study showcasing how online video ads with custom creative’s influenced twice as many viewers’ purchase decisions than viewers who were exposed to standard TV creative. The study also revealed that viewers were said to be more aware of these ads after just the first exposure, as opposed to the four times a standard TV creative takes. This is a huge opportunity for advertisers to create targeted campaigns for specific audiences with less waste – the objective of every advertiser.
Experimentation is better for everyone
The big variable here is creative execution. How does an advertiser know they are creating the right content for online viewers? Video’s secret weapons are its low cost, relative ease of access and sheer measurability. These three factors lend to experimentation, iteration and optimization of creative. For just the production cost of a single television spot, advertisers can produce and test-fly multiple versions of a campaign in small batches until they find the combination that is just right for their audience. The end result is a better experience for everyone, from the brand through to the viewers.