Commentary

Why Opt-In Video Is A Win-Win Vision Of The Future

With more than 11 million devices in the UK enabled to use ad-blocking technology, it can be challenging for brands to reach their intended audiences. Yet despite this situation, the advertising industry continues to thrive.

Annual global media spend continues to grow at a rate of 5%, with digital set to account for at least half of growth by 2020.

One reason for this is that advertisers are placing more emphasis on providing positive consumer experiences, as opposed to strictly focusing on broadcasting their key messages. Consumers are also becoming more aware of the value of their personal data -- largely thanks to regulatory updates such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) -- and this has caused both consumers and advertisers to rethink the fundamentals of advertising.  

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With many advertising audiences beginning to ask "what’s in it for me?" there has never been a more pivotal time to clearly communicate how both the audience and brand can benefit, and create a more explicitly stated value exchange.

As a result, brand marketers are beginning to rethink their video strategies, realising that consumers will proactively choose to engage with the content as long as they there is relevance and something of value that the user can get in return.  

Reaping the rewards

Although in an ideal world consumers would be engaging with all forms of advertising content without an incentive, they are increasingly showing that they only want to engage with relevant content. That's why opt-in video -- ad units that consumers proactively choose to view -- can be a great solution, and it's one of the only ad units that provides the rare win-win-win that provides value for publishers, advertisers and the consumer.

For publishers, it has proven to be particularly successful in-app, where developers integrate ads that consumers can choose to watch in exchange for virtual rewards such as free streaming music, more "matches" in a dating app, expanded video views or access to paywalled content, product discounts, lives or points within a game.

For advertisers, opt-in video has been shown to drive increased engagement with completion rates that significantly outperform other video ad units and it is nearly 100% viewable, hitting the top KPIs for marketers. Global brands such as McDonald's, Honda, T-Mobile and more have all started using opt-in video ads, and new brands and marketers seem to be coming to the format nearly every day.

Finally, none of this would be possible if rewarded video was not so popular with consumers. Mary Meeker reported that opt-in video was far and away the most preferred ad format for consumers, surpassing even skippable pre-roll. Indeed, our own research has found that eight out of ten consumers prefer opt-in video to other ad types, with an additional 80% stating that it provides a positive experience.

Opt-in video's continued growth in the digital ecosystem

While opt-in video began in the world of gaming, both with supply and demand, developers and advertisers of all categories are seeing that ad format can work for them across nearly every market segment, as the consumer-friendly nature is something that can easily translate to sports apps, gaming, social, dating, photo, news and entertainment, and many more.

As the advertising and digital media ecosystem continues to evolve, it has never been more important for brands, publishers and advertisers to remember that the customer is king, and to reflect this in the value exchange they offer. Not only does this mean creating worthwhile content, but in many cases, it also means understanding that audiences have a choice to watch ads, and giving them a material reason for doing so.

Recognising that video completion rates can be very low in some ad formats, our choice as marketers is simple -- we can create engaging and relevant advertising experiences that drive value, or we risk having consumers check out. 

Opt-in formats reflect digital advertising's recognition of this new reality, and have added a powerful new capability for marketers globally.

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