Digital video series: Tips for effective interactive video advertising

The Drum catches up with a cross-section of the online video industry to discuss the evolution of online video advertising.

As part of The Drum’s latest digital media supplement, focused on the opportunities of online video, we are publishing a series of articles exploring a range of topics, from how to produce effective branded content to how online video compares with TV.

The supplement was published on Friday 25 October.

In today's article, we take a look at the key to effective interactive advertising, and what formats are best when it comes to engaging viewers.

What’s the key to effective interactive video advertising?

Steve Doyle, European commercial director, InSkin Media and IAB Video Council chairman Making your video advert relevant for the online environment and the audience. Advertisers have traditionally spent a lot of money creating brilliant TV ads, but don't always take time to effectively digitise. Video advertising can be fantastic, but attention needs to be taken to optimise for digital platforms, and more advanced measurement should be discussed with clients.

Peter Browse, creative technologist, Beattie McGuinness Bungay The key is having relative and worthwhile calls to action, that are presented in the right places and don't annoy the audience. Very few people actually enjoy watching adverts, as much as we'd all like to believe. If we're going to raise the interactivity with these adverts, they need to include levels of functionality that make them useful to the end user. It's not enough to just show a video with a URL or click through, the presumption that someone will or should click through to something is naive. Provide a level of depth that otherwise the user would have over looked and you'll be rewarded with higher levels of engagement and conversions.

Gavin Morgan, VP business development, Europe, Innovid Building the interactive creative around the KPIs of the campaign is key. After that, its really about enhancing the user journey, giving the user something they want to engage with so they lean forward and take the opportunity to interact. Great creative helps of course along with the right audience targeting and deployment. On top of all that, working with a great team and great people who can bring your ideas to life is key!

Rob Cootes, director of UK and international business, BrightRoll Assets – if you have great video assets then you should make the most of them. It’s important to remember that an online video ad buy is not just about pushing your ad out to an online audience. There is much more that can be done to make those assets work harder for the brand. While a TV slot allows you to passively reach 10 million people in one 30-second slot, the online community is a highly engaged audience eager for engagement.

Ideally, your focus should be less on standard metrics and instead on things like open rates or engagements. On top of this, adding some form of incentive to the call to action will have a profound effect on the impact of your video advertising. If a video has an offer or a competition attached to it, you should make that the focus of the call to action without obstructing the video.

Despite the fact that this technology has been around for a long time, a lot of advertisers are still not using it. The message we send to our clients is that they should think more about a video solution rather than a TV solution with a digital video bolted on, and adding some form of interactivity is key to this.

What formats work best to engage consumers?

Suranga Chandratillake, founder and chief strategy officer, Blinkx Length is key in order to engage consumers. For online video, 3-4 minutes is the maximum length before brands experience a severe drop-off rate. For mobile it is significantly shorter, with brands needing to keep content to 1.5 minutes before the audience becomes disengaged and inevitably moves on to the next interesting video. The key is to create truly snackable content that users can digest quickly and share easily – that means short and snappy, but always premium content with a solid story. Over the past year this has become even more important with the rise of mobile use and increase in social sharing – this is trend we predict will continue to rocket into 2014.

Rob Cootes, director of UK and international business, BrightRoll We have found that the most effective way to drive engagement on digital video is through the use of overlays, skins and takeovers. Engagement rates can vary between one per cent on a normal campaign to three per cent or more with overlayed microsites, and we often see dwell time increased by in excess of 30 seconds.

Steve Doyle, European commercial director, InSkin Media and IAB Video Council chairman Any formats that stand out and offer relevance to the user, without disrupting their viewing, should work well. Key to engagement is that the ad is seen; according to comScore’s visibility definition (50 per cent of the ad in view for one second or more), 54 per cent of online ads are never seen. As this debate heats up, so intelligent formats will achieve cut through on cluttered pages, and offer results for advertisers above their expectations.

The previous instalment of The Drum's digital video series explored the impact of proposed viewability standards.

Video image courtesy of Shutterstock

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