2020 & beyond: What’s next for video advertising?

What does the future hold for digital advertising?

Video advertising has continued to be a key driver of digital ad spend this year, with display video up 27% year on year in the first six months of 2019. The growth of mobile advertising and the advent of superfast streaming thanks to 5G means the possibilities for advertisers to reach consumers with engaging video creative are only going to get bigger. Meanwhile, the booming Connected TV market and growth of streaming services are also opening up a new raft of opportunities for advertisers in the video arena.

So, with the end of the year fast approaching – and with the dawn of a new decade just around the corner – what’s in store for video advertising in 2020 and beyond? Members of IAB UK’s Video Steering Group share their views.

What have been the biggest challenges facing the video market this year?

Christian Hanson, video specialist, Commercial, Mail Metro Media

Publishers and broadcasters have had to focus on developing their video products, to ensure consumers have the best quality experience wherever they are and whatever platform they are using. With more people watching online video, the delivery must be seamless. Added to which, the plethora of choice means that if the products aren’t perfect, consumers will move their eyeballs elsewhere.

For advertising, demand used to outstrip supply but now advertisers expect more refined options for targeting. This has meant data has been vitally needed to reach specific audiences at scale, in the most premium brand safe environments.

Jennifer Bunting, head of EMEA Product Marketing, LinkedIn

The biggest challenges come down to perceived cost and as a result, lack of agility. This often limits a marketer’s ability to tailor content for different audiences, formats and environments. It also has an impact on localisation in EMEA, where we know that we should tailor content for audiences outside the UK beyond simply translating the dialogue. Having limited creative resources has a downstream impact on effectiveness.

In 2020, brands need to go beyond recycling TV commercials. It’s time to think mobile first, look at different ways of producing content and put a deeper focus on localisation.

What video developments are you most excited for in 2020?

CH: It’ll be fascinating seeing the streaming wars develop. With Disney+ and AppleTV Plus launching to battle with Amazon Prime and Netflix for market share, the marketplace is now more complicated and expensive. A huge amount of money is being ploughed in to the production of original, high quality content, but will it be good enough to convince consumers to pay for multiple subscriptions?

The collaboration of the UK broadcasters with Britbox is interesting, but many TV license paying customers feel their access should already be covered. Who will be the company to provide centralised access at an affordable rate? That’s the big question.

JB: Live video! It’s growing rapidly and is transforming the way brands think about the value of video content. On LinkedIn, B2B marketers and traditionally conservative sectors like finance are very enthusiastic adopters of it. They don’t view it as just another trend; instead, it’s a strategic solution for building trust. And live video gives you a longer attention span to play with – if you can keep adding value during the broadcast, there’s a lot you can do with that. We’re seeing interesting applications: from events, panel discussions and interviews to campaign launches, customer service announcements and more. Services like Instagram Live are now just an everyday thing.

What one trend do you think will disrupt the video market the most over the next few years?

CH: Advertising vs subscription business models will be high on the agenda with the introduction of so many streaming choices. First party data, combined with loyal, engaged audiences and the interactive purchase element of CTV, mean that the advertising opportunities are ripe for those who enable it.

We know that consumers will accept ads for free services (Spotify) and a recent survey suggested that 78% of digital video viewers are willing to watch advertising in exchange for free content*. There will come a time when subscription businesses will need to accept advertising to cover their mounting costs, and seeing who does this first will be fascinating,

*IAB US Video Advertising Report 2019

JB: Audiences expect greater personalisation and choice from content in general. Traditionally, video has sat apart from that due to the fact that it’s pre-recorded and the viewer isn’t in control of length, pacing or how content is delivered. I think the industry will need to adapt to viewer expectations. We need to innovate new formats that provide more interactivity – and put viewers in charge of how they experience video content.

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