An industry guide to creativity in digital video

IAB Video Steering Group May 2018

When people in our industry think of video, many immediately think about a 30 second TV ad, and who can blame them? It’s worked so well for so long.

But digital, and mobile in particular, has disrupted everything we know about what’s worked in the past, and what will work in the future. With it comes endless opportunities. Perhaps, however, these endless opportunities are the reason the industry isn’t quite there yet with getting digital video right.

There’s an assumption that video created for one platform will work for another. However, success with video is only achievable if you customise video to its environment. Is a 30-second TV creative running in front of a 45-second ‘how-to’ video a fair value exchange? Of course not, yet it is still allowed to happen.

Shorter attention spans and skippable formats mean that brands need to rethink how they communicate to their audiences. Grabbing someone’s attention in the first few seconds is a pretty good rule of thumb as well as bold branding from the offset – to recommendations highlighted in the IAB’s recent Fit for Purpose research.

With mobile making up 75% of time spent online (UKOM), and 45% of a £11.55bn digital UK ad market (IAB / PWC Digital Adspend Study), brands have also got to consider whether someone is watching their ad with the sound on. Subtitles are such an easy solution that helps address the sound-off user as well as making sure the story arch works in sound off environments.

Typically, people use their phone in portrait orientation so creating vertical video ads for mobile is another key consideration. This works best when video ads are shot in portrait (as opposed to being repurposed landscape assets) so it’s crucial to have the ‘vertical conversation’ at the start of the creative process.

The creative process in one part of running an effective video campaign – another is having a data strategy. Using data creatively, and intelligently, is what sets digital apart from other media channels. Successful businesses use data and insights to inform their media planning as well as to define the role of video within their wider marketing strategies.

Effective use of data allows advertisers to serve the right video creative, to the right person, at the right time. Thanks to real-time data, targeting can be taken that one step further by synching creative with real time events and social sentiment such as weather conditions or sporting occasions.

Data also allows advertisers to be more flexible. Dynamic creative optimisation, technology that creates personalised ads based on data about the viewer, is hugely powerful in delivering relevant messages to the user.

And in the end, that’s what it all comes down to. The user. When it’s done well, video is an incredible way to reach and wow people – the industry just needs to respect the context and mindset of the user when creating video ads for the digital space.

Above all, video isn’t something that should be used just because it’s popular. It needs to fit a business’s marketing goals, have a measurable impact, as well as a positive impact on the user.

This article has been collaborated on by the IAB’s Video Steering Group – in particular Innovid, Twitter, Total Media, Spark Foundry, Inskin Media, LinkedIn, Vidmob, and Facebook.

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