Video ad formats is a massive area of growth, but those that will succeed will be the ones that place user experience ahead of monetisation.
Video is currently undergoing a massive shift. Although it has still retained its premium value, today there are more ways than ever before for marketers in order to reach their audiences with video. At the Dmexco trade show last week in Cologne, it fast became clear that since the time of last year's show vendors have been busy working on creating new video inventory forms.
Video is already responsible for a high percentage of current mobile data usage, but there is one major reason why it has skyrocketed, which is live streaming. Live video is being used by consumers in all different types of areas, with the platforms following in turn.
During the trade show, i the sports streamer DAZN announced its intention of opening a new Amsterdam office, which is a true signal of intent that the company is aiming to become the 'Netflix of Sport.' In the meantime, the dominance of Twitch in esports is something that many people envy. This year has also seen the boom of HQ Trivia, a mobile game, although at Dmexco the discussion was that it was important to capitalise on its current popularity before all of the excitement starts to die down.
The popularity of Instagram Stories and Facebook Live naturally also accounts for much of the streaming. The social channels have also been rolling their content platforms out: Facebook Watch and IGTV. There is so much investment behind these platforms that they are able to afford to play with these models for a long time before becoming a success (or a failure). European advertisers have not had the chance yet to play around with Facebook Watch, and there was a lot of frustration voiced about Europe being made to play second fiddle by the US platforms.
Marketers will ask themselves where their opportunities lie in all of this. Twitch, Vice, and DAZN all offer an extensive reach to their very specific audiences; and there will not be the right brand taste for every taste. Live streaming is risky inherently since the content cannot be vetted prior to it being advertised on, and all of the interactive elements place brands at risk of showing up next to trolling.
Currently, companies are still quite cautious when it comes to brand safety, and everybody, from publishers and advertisers, was aware of the fact that they want to work only with quality content. Therefore, advertisers must ask themselves whether or not their brand is the proper match for those channels.
However, at Dmexco another type of content was on display that doesn't suffer from those problems: third-party content that can be widely distributed. Then artificial intelligence technology is available to match the content with existing pages. That solves the long-standing problem of publishers being unable to afford to get their own inventory created.
This creates a new 'in-stream' video inventory source for marketers: pre-roll for contextually matched content. Since it is well-placed and high-quality content, it is much more likely that the adverts will be viewed. It is still important, of course, that advertisers make sure that the websites they are purchasing on are high-quality ones. That means creating black and white lists of sites, and working only with trusted partners.
Even further afield, there are areas such as digital out-of-home and in-transit media which are all undergoing their own programmatic and video revolutions. Moving images are continuing to colonise an increasing number of area, which ensures premium placements are becoming increasingly important, as the pool continues to widen.
The connected TV sector gets the final word; this is an area that is carving its own niche out now. There are numerous nuances and a great deal of promise for CTV, and we do not have enough space here to deeply investigate the sector. The supply-side platforms are in the process of setting their stalls out; some are heavily focusing on the maturing area, while others are steering clear. In the coming year, we will be seeing a further divergence between the CTV industry and online video conversations.
There has never been a better time than now for marketers to create and distribute their videos. It has also never been so complex to reach audiences. As we look forward, we expect to see some consolidation of the various vendors, and opportunities will continue to grow outside the 'walled gardens'. Those purchasing video space will need to consider content - in terms of both the user experience they are purchasing and for the safety of their brands. Marketing recruitment agencies in London can expect to be busy.