Digital advertising has become a mainstay among marketers over the past several years, as the popularity of smartphones has achieved critical mass and consumers are increasingly tethered to their devices. But static content isn’t enough to capture attention or money—video advertising is where it’s at, and there’s data to prove it.
According to a worldwide survey from Google and Statista, video consumption is popular, ranging from a consumer consumption high of 95% in Saudi Arabia to a low of 54% in South Africa. In the U.S., 85% of internet users say they watch online video. That popularity has spurred the use of video not only for information and entertainment, but also for marketing.
The Power of Video
Choozle’s “2018 Digital Advertising Trends Survey” was conducted among 502 randomly selected U.S. consumers. Results indicated that 72% of respondents do not prefer video ads, but when compared to other types of online advertisements, these ads held the highest value among ad formats, driving higher click-through rates (CTR) as well. According to the report, video CPM (cost per mille) value ranged from $9.94–$14.07. On average, video ads drove higher CTR, with mobile video sized 620×360 averaging the highest at 0.396%.
But, says Tiffany Coletti Kaiser, EVP of marketing at Digital Remedy, it’s important not to draw broad generalizations from such data. Video advertising performance, she says, “is based on an advertiser’s specific key performance indicators and their business objectives in relation to their budgets.” Yes, Kaiser says, video can provide advertisers with highly engaged audiences; however, video advertising also involves content, and that content must be high quality relative to the target audience—and have a strong call to action. Much of the perception of video content, of course, involves speed.
Choozle’s chief product officer, Jeffrey Finch, says that video adoption, much like television, “is stickier,” referring to digital video advertising as “miniature little movies.” As technology evolves, he says, the quality of video delivery—speed and bandwidth—will continue to improve. Speed and bandwidth, Finch states, are rate-limiting factors for consumer satisfaction with video consumption, a factor that can hinder advertisers attempting to reach consumers in rural areas.
Urban areas were the first to adopt 4G, he says, and have a higher concentration of potential viewers. “In those areas, I would be willing to bet that the video saturation and the quality and conversion and metrics around those videos also went up with the availability of the higher speed networks.” Contrast that, Finch states, to rural areas that “barely get a signal on any carrier still to this day.” In those areas, he says, “a poor user experience will exist and, therefore, lower conversion rates.” Advertisers using video, he says, would be wise to “follow the technology—specifically speed,” because that’s what will dictate how quickly video advertising is adopted.
Focus on the UX
It’s that user experience (UX), Finch suggests, that ties back to the 72% of respondents who do not prefer video over other ad types. “I feel a lot of consumers find it very disruptive,” he says. “If I’m going to the internet, I generally have a purpose. If my purpose is to get some information, video is in the way of that if it creates a negative user experience.”
What does that mean for advertisers? That they must ensure a positive user experience. That means not only high quality in terms of the imagery, says Finch, but high quality in terms of how quickly the video loads. Consumers are increasingly impatient.
Research from OpenX, the Mobile Marketing Association, and MediaMath supports the value that video can bring when creating with UX in mind, according to Maggie Mesa, OpenX’s VP of mobile business. According to the research, 8 out of 10 respondents prefer opt-in video to other types of advertising; two-thirds of consumers would watch a 15-second ad for the following:
• Retailer discounts
• Free streaming music
• In-app gaming rewards
• An hour of premium video content
Brand marketers agree, according to the report. More than 80% say that opt-in video provides a better consumer experience and more ROI than other ad formats; 65% of them plan to increase their video spend in 2019.
However, product and service price points will impact video adoption, Finch notes. With budgets of three to five times non-video digital advertising, he says, there’s not a lot of margin. Video advertising will probably not provide great value if you’re selling pizzas, he says. But if you’re selling cars, high-end sporting equipment, vacations, etc., the margin may be there.
Monitor the Metrics
Finch recommends that advertisers pay very close attention to their metrics and consider what they mean in terms of delivering content to end users. “If I know people watch my videos only to the 20-second mark, I’d better do a better job of getting my call to action out there early,” Finch states. “You need to be able to run and optimize, run and optimize, over time,” he says. “That’s the only way to get better and better results.”
It’s an investment of time and money. But video is no different than any other form of advertising, Finch says. “With video ads, a lot of people expect a magic bullet—but there’s never been a magic bullet in advertising of any sort.”
Marketers should be taking a look at their budgets now in preparation for 2019, says Kaiser. She adds that they need to remain flexible to take advantage of opportunities that are continually shifting.
“Marketers now have choices and need to target their audiences based on content consumption to reach their intended audience with their desired message,” says Kaiser. In 2019, she says they will need to be ready to “embrace various video formats as content platforms will have different creative standards based on their delivery.” Video is popular and will continue to be popular, says Kaiser, because it takes a familiar medium and “places it in the digital/online ecosystem.”
Online video, when created with UX in mind, can help to reach and engage audiences efficiently, spurring action and—of utmost importance to marketers—sales.