Digital advertising is experiencing a new resurgence, thanks to the uptick in streaming services. It is expected to account for 50% of total global ad spend by 2020, per eMarketer.
However, not all platforms are created equal.
With over 200 streaming services in existence today, each must differentiate itself and establish leadership in the space. The industry is in the midst of an arms race.
Advertisers flock to players with the strongest technology and the most options for creating interactive ad content, such as allowing the consumer choose what ads to watch, a quiz to play or prize to win.
When it comes to ad spend, there are a key differentiating factors that advertisers should note when choosing where to invest.
Prioritize Real-Time Content
Many of the leading platforms are expanding their offerings to include live content, like sporting events and breaking news, but that doesn’t mean all platforms carry the same value. Advertisers need to recognize “live” content is not the same as “real-time” – with many streams experiencing delays between 10 to 60 seconds.
Many platforms are ill-equipped to serve infinite numbers of concurrent users, an issue for major international events like the World Cup, often resulting in substantial latency, buffering or loss of service altogether.
Streaming’s volatility puts advertisers at risk, alienating users who won’t put up with unreliable streaming technology or engage with ads. It’s a cyclical effect that boils down to the requirement of a high-quality streaming experience, not just for the content’s entertainment element, but the efficacy of the ad.
Advertisers and brands must find a platform with a track record of delivering high-quality streams at scale, so their message can successfully reach target audiences.
The Best Streaming Experiences Are Interactive
Today’s consumers expect more and engage in new ways. This is most common in sports, gaming and online betting, now legal in select states. Viewers often interact with one another, explore player and team stats and engage on social media while consuming content.
To ensure a seamless, interactive experience, these users are likely to flock to the most reliable platforms – and advertisers should follow suit. Services that offer more interactive content – such as Facebook and its recent venture into MLB live streaming – tend to have significantly more engaged audiences, thus maximizing the potential for overall ad profitability and interaction with target audiences.
But there is a catch. If the streaming platform cannot deliver content in real-time then users who want to interact with each other are out of sync and the user experience fails.
Today, companies like Hulu are already customizing ad experiences by allowing users to select the ads they want to view. As trivia apps and games, such as HQ, continue to grow in popularity, advertisers have the opportunity to incorporate this real-time, quiz-based element into their content.
For example, a leading sports retailer could utilize a “question of the day” for a prize offering during major broadcasts to help further engage their audiences. In addition, interactive content will improve the likelihood that consumers will retain key messages and further engage with the brand. Engaging content can help differentiate the brand from competitors that may not use the same tactics.
Engagements Build Relationships
To effectively drive digital ad revenue, organizations should select partners that offer more options for interactive streaming content to better engage with target audiences. For example, YouTube launched location elements and forms within its ads, allowing consumers to directly enroll in services or receive emails with additional information.
These opt-in options help brands build more loyal followings, allowing organizations to direct their messages to specific, interested consumers. By putting the opportunity to engage – or not engage – in consumers’ hands, organizations gain insights into the success of their ads and better identify the interests of their target audiences.
Which Platform Will Drive the Most Revenue?
While the streaming space can be difficult to navigate, advertising on these platforms is the new normal. To maximize the effectiveness of their efforts, brands are becoming acquainted with next-generation advertising, in the form of interactive content options. The consumer mind-set – and attention span – is changing, so the responsibility falls on brands, advertisers and platforms to ensure the end-user is being effectively reached.