Context: New Standard For Online Video Advertising

Context is a topic often covered among advertisers. The goal of reaching an audience with a relevant message is age-old, and technology has allowed us to get better and better at it with targeting. Online video advertising spend is growing rapidly, and we’ve truly passed an inflection point at the level of relevance possible. What was rare or very expensive in the early days of online video is now commonplace, and the idea of context in online video advertising can take on many forms.

Native advertising seeks to minimize the “ad-ness” of an ad entirely, blending your video seamlessly among relevant content.  This seamless delivery of content means your audience is captive, voluntarily watching your video due to its relevance. The most effective native advertising will use a YouTube embed of your video, driving up views and increasing discoverability in the Web’s largest video repository.

Pre-roll ads need not be randomized. They can be targeted to the right audience through both demographic targeting as well as psychographic targeting based on content preferences. We can match high-performance tire commercials to sports car reviews, and kids’ furniture to parenting videos. And we can avoid an upbeat, happy-go-lucky ad being played during a video that features tragic news. That kind of stark contrast can be offputting at best, and perceived as insensitive at worst.

Advertising platforms are hungry for contextual data. Facebook, Apple, DoubleClick, YouTube, Hulu, and many others are becoming more aggressive in requesting and tracking this data. Consumers are starting to question more and more the relevance of the ad content they’re seeing. Because of this awareness of context among consumers, there’s a growing level of appreciation for that perfectly apropos ad -- and a growing distaste for that highly irrelevant one. A 2013 study by Janrain found that 74% of audiences get frustrated when served advertising that doesn’t align with their interests.

In addition, thanks to advanced reporting and metrics, you can gain extremely valuable insights from tracking the performance of various content during your video campaign, helping you understand who your most captive audiences are and how to market to them more effectively Brands can find success by using this data in real time to optimize their media buys.

Despite all these advantages of highly targeted, contextual advertising, bulk is still appealing to media buyers. Premium publishers are still selling impressions by the many millions, and context is not always the top priority. Still, achieving relevance with online video should be a new brand aspiration as context-driven advertising becomes more mainstream and expected by audiences.

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