2015 will be the year video moves from marketing experiment to mainstream medium. Why? Video consumption is increasing, and the rise of mobile internet use is accelerating the trend. Mobile’s share of online video views grew two-fold in the past year to reach almost 20%, reflecting that streaming long-form video content across multiple devices is now second nature to consumers. As a result, video is set to be the fastest growing format in display advertising over the next 5 years.
So, what can we expect in 2015?
1. More ambitious content. Due to the relative infancy of online video advertising, brands often create content in line with traditional TV advertising content and format, including limiting spot length to 30 seconds. As video advertising matures, content will move from advertising to storytelling and creative content will become longer and more ambitious. This continues the trend seen through the rise of social media and content marketing, where brands are increasingly acting like publishers rather than advertisers in seeking to engage and inform their audiences.
2. The continued rise of YouTube celebrities. Many YouTube video bloggers, or vloggers, have become household names for their huge following and influence. The UK beauty, fashion and lifestyle space already features top vloggers Zoella, Tanya Burr and Pixiewoo each with communities of between 2M and 7M YouTube subscribers regularly tuning in. Brands have already started exploring how to co-create video content with these vloggers (see previous post: How To Work With YouTube Vloggers in 5 Easy Steps), but the area is set to grow as brands continue to experiment with it in 2015.
3. Technology as a driver of creativity. Technology enabling user interactivity with video content is already a reality. Advertisers are able to make any element of their content clickable to surface text and other interactive content meaning that they can engage consumers for longer than the video length and drive online conversions direct from the video content. By way of example, catwalk videos for the latest Nicole Miller collection allow consumers to click on any item of clothing to bring up a panel of more information, recommendations of related items and options to add these to basket. Use of this technology will become increasingly prevalent, with brands exploring the most effective ways of using the new features as the technology develops.
4. Automated and targeted distribution of content. Programmatic buying, the use of technology to automate media buying processes in order to drive cost efficiencies and improved targeting, will increasingly be used to place video ads. Use of programmatic for video to date has been relatively low, accounting for 16% of all video ad placements in the UK in 2013 (compared to 26% for standard display ad placements). With the proportion of marketing budgets spent on video set to grow, expect brands to look to programmatic buying as a means to achieving cost efficiencies and to diversifying spend away from dominant platforms such as YouTube.
5. More rigour around measurement standards. Reach is a metric which is entrenched across brands and their media agencies as a benchmark and measure of media success, but fierce debate will continue around how this is measured and therefore how ads are traded. Earlier this year the Media Ratings Council announced that video ads could be traded based on viewable impressions, defined as those ads that are 50% visible on a user’s screen for at least 2 seconds. Brands and media agencies are calling for higher standards and as a result platforms such as Facebook are defining their own standards which will fragment the measurement landscape and continue the debate.
The industry trends show us a number of brand opportunities around content creation and distribution, but, as we forecast the rate at which brands will increase their investment in video, one question we should be asking is how will this be funded? Will spend be diverted from TV or from online budgets? Industry surveys show that the majority of brands planning to increase their video spend in 2015 currently plan to do so using their online budgets, but this will likely shift over time as the value of the medium is proven and the lines between TV, VOD and other online video blur.