The transformation and fragmentation of TV over the last decade has caused more than a few headaches for the advertising industry. The same advertisers who were once in control of seemingly captive TV viewers are now at the whim of a viewing audience with far less patience and way more options. Advertisers that adapted quickly and diversified their media spend – and their overall approach to video ad content – are finding that what’s good for viewers is actually good for them, too. In fact, that’s precisely the name of the TV game.
Despite viewers and brands such as Channel 4 and Sky making a successful shift from traditional TV to digital, it isn’t as quick and seamless for advertisers, whose journey to digital is only the beginning. Factors like ad-free subscription models, content that’s limited to certain devices, ad retargeting, data, and decreased attention spans have not only created a need for a number of entirely new video ad formats, they’ve also introduced the need for video strategies that span several channels simultaneously – each with its own separate set of rules.
The result is an overall TV shakeup where anything with a screen is competing for ad spend traditionally allocated to TV advertising, and any content that entertains and engages is considered competitive to traditional TV programming.
With this in mind, Karen Eccles, Commercial Director UK, Innovid, outlines four factors that advertisers should consider as TV continues to shift to digital.
TV cord-cutters have officially ushered in a new era of subscription-driven video content that is no longer driven by ad revenue. This means that they don’t expect (or want) to see traditional TV ads. In fact, part of what viewers are paying for with their subscriptions is the luxury of not having to watch ads at all. Advertisers need to find new, innovative ways to reach and engage these cord-cutters in non-intrusive ways and have access to viewability and performance metrics.
Advertisers are intimately familiar with the idea of running ads during specific shows their target audience is watching. What they haven’t had to deal with, until recently, is having to buy ad space for shows that only run on specific devices. Apple, for instance, doesn’t create its own content, but as it delves deeper into the TV game, it’s entering deals to license exclusive content that will only be viewable through Apple TV. Advertisers follow viewers, so those who want ads in front of Amazon Prime viewers, for example, will need to take the extra step to ensure their ads are everywhere their viewers are.
Just recently, Facebook announced that video ads are coming to Instant Articles, allowing publishers to insert an additional ad unit at the bottom of every article. Snapchat has also proven to be an important player. With its reported 10 billion daily video views, Snapchat has become a “must buy” for reaching millennials.
Moving ad spend to social media isn’t just a matter of diversifying advertisers’ media buys; it introduces a number of new ad formats too; considering that each platform varies and has its own style of “micro-advertising”. Platforms like Facebook, Snapchat, and Pinterest each offer different features that allow advertisers to quickly catch users’ attention and account for vertical scrolling. The more interactive the ad format, the more likely the viewer is to notice, engage, and share the creative. Once the viewer opts in, interactive elements can expand the experience with additional content, thereby extending the amount of time the viewer spends with the brand.
Ad retargeting isn’t a new concept, but it’s finally hitting critical mass among video advertisers. Viewers are watching video content across connected devices and no longer want to see the same video as they move from device to device. Instead, they expect to see an evolving sequence of personally relevant video ads.
The good news is that advertisers can make use of behavioural, demographic, and collaborative data generated by online activity, and in turn, use this to filter audiences and target specific segments with relevant content. A car company, for example, might “learn” that a desktop user has been searching for a children’s highchair. Rather than deliver a video ad for a sports car, this new insight will trigger the car company to serve an ad for a car to better match the viewer’s lifestyle. Each new encounter and engagement (or lack thereof) can generate more valuable information for the advertiser.