The first-ever TV advertisement, in 1941, was a 20-second spot on NBC’s WNBT and cost the featured brand, Bulova Watch Company, a whopping $9. That’s a far cry from today’s multimillion-dollar Super Bowl ad – but smart advertisers are no longer relying solely on 30-second national broadcast spots to reach their target consumers. These savvy advertisers know that consumption of online video is increasing rapidly (growing 388% over 2014, according to Adobe), and are quick to capitalize on new opportunities as TV viewing shifts from screen to screen.
Today’s consumers want information that is tailored to them, and are quick to tune out any content that is unrelated to their needs or interests. Therefore, advertisers need to take advantage of the expansive data they are privy to when it comes to online viewers, and ensure their content is personalized for a given audience. Overall, advertisers seem to be doing this very well—which is probably why online video ads have an average click-through rate (CTR) of 1.84 %, the highest CTR of all digital ad formats.
But the next wave of online video ads—an instant ad-to-purchase model—will be truly revolutionary. This strategy will allow consumers to see an ad, and instantly purchase the product or service without having to click through to a separate website. In 2014, a few companies tried this approach, including Hulu Plus’ in-stream purchase units with partner Pizza Hut that allows viewers to order pizza without ever leaving the Hulu platform.
While it’s a bit early to estimate the ROI instant ad-to-purchase could offer advertisers, one can assume these numbers will be incredibly strong, since the model perfectly merges the advertising and shopping environments, eliminating any steps in between when consumers could get sidetracked from their purchases.
Content providers and other streaming services will certainly continue to explore this ground-breaking approach to monetizing online video consumption. Considering the binge-watching phenomenon that has taken hold of our society (which shows no sign of letting up), this approach enable consumers to make purchases while in the middle of a marathon viewing session of “Game of Throne,” with almost no interruption. As such, the ad-to-purchase model seems too good to pass up. It may take some time still before service providers and advertisers can get their technology ducks in a row, but there’s no doubt this is the future of online video ads. Let the impulse shopping begin!