This year has been relentless when it comes to the evolution of video: YouTube safety scandals, new products from Instagram and Amazon, Snapchat’s yo-yo-ing fortunes, Facebook’s dominance… and then there was Magic Leap.
It’s been non-stop leaving marketers bamboozled, and publishers licking their wounds.
In my time working in the industry – over ten years – I’ve never know the video sector to move so quickly. So as the digital marketing industry headed to Dmexco last week, it was time to take stock of all these changes, and compare notes on the world of video.
Smartphone ubiquity was reached a few years ago, and data packages caught up in the past two years. Subsequently we now see the vast majority of data usage is for video, and within that, streaming is a large proportion.
Yes, it’s happening on Facebook and Snapchat, but new challengers like DAZN are showing that models exist in other sectors, such as sport. At Dmexco they announced the opening of a vast new technical office in Amsterdam, featuring 300 staff.
This is a message of intent. DAZN believe they can be the ‘Netflix of sport’, and given the success of Twitch in e-sports, there’s no reason to believe they can’t be. Sports are a safe bet for another reason, they’re largely likely to be brand safe.
Another strength of live video, as we’ve seen with Instagram, is interactivity. HQ Trivia have been a huge success story in the interactive live video space this year. What they do with that success was a question I heard asked more than once.
All of this will frustrate traditional publishers, who struggle to see the advantage of these platforms. One option is to create video content that works on each product: this can then be monetized, or used to drive traffic. But this requires a painful amount of resource. A simpler solution is to create their own video options which can compete to retain users.
Aware of this need publishers have to create video content, there were plenty of creation and editing tools on display. But it’s surely only a matter of time before publishers realise that they must invest in creating quality video (not through an online tool), and then syndicate it to create revenue. If that’s not to their taste, bringing in existing video to their sites is a great option, given the volume and breadth of quality content now available.
Connected television was certainly one of (if not the) major talking points at Dmexco, as the technology finally delivers on its promises. It was recently reported we’re now at ‘peak OTT’ with over 200 vendors in this space, so I expect the landscape of vendors and sellers will consolidate over the next year. From those talking big at Dmexco, there will be some big winners, and some losers. It’s set to be an exciting 2019 for this space.
As ever, AI was much talked about. As a technology it’s now commonplace, meaning distinctions must be drawn between who is employing it most appropriately. It’s a case where anyone dealing with suppliers who use AI must learn how to see through the marketing and ask the right questions. AI should be used to enable scale and automate heavy tasks.
One brand to have demonstrated that AI can be employed to improve products, and increase product use is Spotify. Its recommended and curated playlists have been a runaway success. As the company now invests in video ads (and is seeing demand outstrip their core audio business), it will be interesting to see how Spotify uses AI to power the delivery of video on their platform.
So far, their embrace of video has been tentative, but if Daniel Ek wants to reach his ambitious sales targets, he might want to reconsider that. The reach, desirability and targeting options of Spotify as a platform can’t be denied.
Talk at Dmexco inevitably turned to the presence of PornHub, which exhibited and placed posters, amongst an atmosphere of brand safety lock-down. Their argument that ‘your users are there, so why aren’t you?’, completely misses the point about the importance of context in advertising. Brands should be looking for exposure in environments that add value to their products. PornHub may have a huge reach, but very few brands would benefit from that exposure.
Conversations always ended up with context, it’s the pervasive issue that touches on user experience, brand safety and ad targeting.
The topic dangling on the horizon at Dmexco was 5G. By next year, this will be front-and-centre of conversations. The knock-on effect of that will be more AR, more streaming and more mobile advertising.
There’s no letting up in this industry, and long may it continue.