We live in a video-first world, and the battle for audiences is becoming fiercer by the day. Video is rapidly becoming the preferred method of media consumption. In fact, it is predicted to account for 82% of all internet traffic by 2021. That’s big.
For better or worse, YouTube and Facebook still have a tight grip on video ad landscape, taking the lion’s share of revenue away from traditional publishers. This is not surprising, given the unbeatable scale the platforms offer. Facebook now boasts around eight billion video views every day -- soaking up even more advertising dollars with the introduction of Facebook Watch -- while YouTube reports that one billion hours of video are watched every single day.
However, with mounting concerns surrounding brand safety, trust and transparency, brands will continue to gravitate toward environments that are offering the right context and quality of content for video campaigns if they want to succeed.
Context is king
The industry is learning the hard way that context is everything, and this is offering an exciting opportunity for publishers to capitalise on the premium editorial environments they are able to offer brands.
By putting a video ad into content that feels natural contextually, the consumer is far more likely to engage. If the ad looks like it belongs there, it will become a much more appealing proposition and marketers will find that engagement rates rise.
Opportunities to work with publishers’ premium video inventory are on the upswing.
For example, last month newspaper rivals The Guardian, The Telegraph and News UK cast aside competition to launch The Verified Marketplace. The marketplace is a new sales platform for outstream video, offering an environment for contextually relevant, premium video advertising.
However, there are still huge opportunities for all publishers to monetise different video formats. On average, only 20% of editorial articles currently have video, leaving a lot of space to add more contextually relevant video to their articles that can be monetised, reaching audiences when they are most engaged. We expect to see this rise in 2018 if publishers want to survive.
Quality over quantity
Using technology to cheaply target large groups of people in less premium environments is the equivalent of putting ads inside a toilet cubicle, but just because they are cheap and have scale doesn’t mean the a’re right for the brand. In the long run, the logical solution to brand safety issues is to increase ad spend on white-listed media sites that offer a premium environment for video ads.
Advertising campaigns on traditional media sites may not have the scale, but publishers can offer brand-safe editorial environments and premium inventory. What’s more, they have loyal audiences that will react positively to pre-roll inventory and other quality, contextually relevant and brand-safe video content. Increasingly publishers are committing to video, giving brands more opportunities for high-quality video advertising.
Consumers love visual content and video offers exciting opportunities for all advertisers and publishers willing to invest in it -- so much so that now ad spend on video outstripped banner ads by nearly GBP15m in the first half of the year. Pivoting to high-quality video advertising, placed in the relevant context will build trust and maximise engagement with target audiences; all crucial to a high-performing campaign
What we are certainly seeing is a sense of urgency around the need to adopt video as everyone chases a greater slice of advertising revenue. The duopoly might be winning the battle for video viewers now, but these interesting moves will show in time who will win the war.