Three Qualities Advertisers Look For in Brand Video Ad Placements

While much has been written about the evolution of branded video content and "viral video" ads, less attention has been given to the integrated video ad experiences that are helping blur the line between content and advertising.  Advertisers are now regularly looking for well-integrated video ad experiences that will help their branded video content fit more naturally within the content experience of a site to drive higher levels of engagement and sharing. 

In spite of significant innovations around pre-roll and banner advertising formats, the fact remains that consumers have developed equally advanced abilities to ignore the bulk of these types of ad units. Brands have recognized the attention deficit inherent to these models and are increasingly investing in more content-driven, longer-form videos. As brands continue to open their minds and wallets to new types of entertaining video content, publishers and video advertising companies need to respond with innovative, new ad experiences to deliver engaged viewership and drive sharing of their videos.



So, what are media buyers looking for today when placing their brand video content?  The highest priority for today's branded video ad experiences is to make them as organic as possible to the content experience of the sites that they run on. This means that you can't take a one-size-fits all approach. The challenge for advertisers is to find the balance between entirely customized ad products for every individual website (not scalable) and overly generic ad units (easily ignored), so the goal for publishers should be to offer ad experiences that have a customized, integrated look-and-feel without requiring implementation times and prices that are prohibitive. 

Below are a few key qualities advertisers look for in ad experiences for brand video content: 

1) Feels like content. Ad placements that are far removed from the content experience or too intrusive will lead to low engagement and sharing rates for video.  'Featured content' video ad models are beginning to take shape, which fit more organically within the site experience and allow sponsored videos to be integrated seamlessly within the regular content flow.< 

Video-focused sites, from UGC platforms like YouTube to highly curated sites such as Devour, offer great opportunities to place branded video content within the natural flow of the site experience. Additionally, editorial sites that use a lot of video, like game and movie review sites or viral content curators such as Buzzfeed, can be great venues to integrate creative branded video placements.


2) Discoverability. Consumers love to discover new, entertaining content on the Web. An effective ad experience allows consumers to stay within that discovery mindset, while also providing a high level of visibility. Social recommendation and bookmarking sites have good potential to help their users maintain the discovery mentality even among sponsored content, as do social games and virtual worlds that integrate branded videos directly within the site experience. Sites that do a great job of this include recommendation sites like StumbleUpon and Reddit and social games like CarTown

3) Social features. Video ad units that have embedded the social graph and sharing features within the experience give social context to the content can dramatically increase sharethrough rates. Facebook's Social Graph API's allow ad units to highlight connections between the brand and the user's friends and followers, such as related videos or fan pages that they have liked. Leveraging more immediate social connections on sites that are not Facebook, such as followers/friends/shared interests within a specific site, can help ad units feel more integrated. 

The game has changed for brand video advertising. Brands are going to extraordinary lengths to create video content that will entertain and inspire, and it's the responsibility of publishers and video advertising companies to be equally innovative with their ad experiences. The combination of well-integrated, social ad units and entertaining brand videos can unlock unprecedented value for savvy advertisers and greatly benefit both the publisher's users and its bottom line.

2 comments about "Three Qualities Advertisers Look For in Brand Video Ad Placements".
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  1. Joshua Rex from AP, February 24, 2011 at 4:15 p.m.

    Sound advice and goes some way to explaining why the Open Intelligent Media Unit (Open IMU) achieves interactions rates of more than 10x the average for video ads, interaction times more than 50x the average and video completion rates or more than 75% on average.

    Great content helps of course but it is the format that really makes the difference.

    We've built upon these essential principles.

    Our proprietary display advertising technology transforms display media into dynamic content channels – delivering deep, repeated brand engagement – delivering all the functionality of a website into a standard MPU.

    It transforms static, broadcast advertising into intelligent narrowcast media, driving a utility driven content experience from the first point of engagement and beyond.

    The idea behind it is a simple one. Rather than using display media (banners) as lures to divert a user to a website, we deliver the content and experience straight to the users - in the ad format

    Ad served as a non-rich media MPU, the platform can deliver any size file (HD video for example), along with any functionality that you would typically find on a website.

    The Open IMU consists of a suite of modules & components, including videos, images, comments, rating, upload/download content, register, live streaming, multiple languages etc...

    2-way social media integration and proven mechanics to optimise social media engagement, eg add to Facebook to ‘unlock’ content” or, use your social identity to log in to the Open IMU to invite friends, update status etc

    Full-screen engagement from all media placements immerses the user in a rich brand experience without disrupting the user journey

    All the content and functionality format is dynamically managed and all key interactions tracked – ensuring optimal campaign performance

    Check out some of the latest campaigns here.

  2. Gary Dervetski from Dervetski Consulting, February 25, 2011 at 2:08 p.m.

    Could you please send me your contact info on Or send an email to

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