We have pre-rolls, overlays, in-banner video ads, and companion ads. Pre-rolls come in all shapes and sizes from seven seconds to 120. The same goes for overlay ads - bottom thirds, bugs at the bottom corner of the screen, etc. There are really no limitations to in-banner video ads (see IAB standard ad sizes) and to make everything a little bit more complex, there are hundreds of choices for both consumers and marketers seeking out video content.
All this is great for creating scale, but it makes planning a bit more difficult. Overwhelming, right? There is good news however, and that is there is no right way to do this. While having industry-wide best practices is nearly impossible for several reasons, what IS possible is developing a strategic approach that is right for your brand/client.
Quality of content. There has not been any significant research done to identify the relative value of consumers watching a piece of user-generated content (UGC) versus those watching professionally produced content. There may be demographic differences between the two, but in terms of psychographics and attitudinal behaviors, they are of equal value unless proven otherwise. For this reason, alignment with a particular type of content is solely based on the clients' brand mandatories. We are aware that there are some brands for whom an association with UGC does not make sense, whereas other brands embrace it.
Type of video advertising. There are creative production realities that every brand/agency must deal with. Sometimes there are no video assets to leverage, so an overlay would work best. And sometimes a repurposed TV spot in a pre-roll platform is the only option. These challenges are not new to any advertiser. The key is to ensure that it is possible to measure your most relevant metrics. For those advertisers new to the video space, it is critical to compare results (performance-based or awareness- based) to standard online advertising and discover if it is cost-effective to pay the premium for video.
Length of video ad. It is becoming increasingly evident that there will never be a right answer for those who want to know what the optimal length of video should be. Common sense applies, of course: don't put a :30 spot in front of a :45 video clip, but other than that, the answer should be based on what is driving the best results for your clients' brand. Put yourself in the consumers' shoes. Is the spot annoying to you? While it's always best to have conclusive research, in the absence of it, your own best judgment is a good barometer.
The common thread throughout the video space is the imminent need for measurement that is relevant to your brand so that you can answer the question, "Why are you doing this?" Whether you're tracking online sales, clicks to a microsite or general changes in awareness metrics, any brand can discover and create an approach that is right for them, even if our sole recourse is our own best judgment.
There doesn't seem to be an end to the complexity of the video space anytime soon, so it's vital to not be overwhelmed. We (brands/agencies) should be trying to piece together the puzzle together, one piece at a time. Ultimately, it is the recognition that there is no "right way" and no one-size-fits-all answer that will ultimately lead to success. Trust your own expert opinion or those of your agency partners. Together, we'll create best practices that establish tomorrow's benchmarks.