Why digital video has become the new performance hero

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Is traditional, linear TV advertising becoming antiquated?

The advertising world experienced a dramatic shake-up over the past few years, with digital moving rapidly up the ranks. The growing sophistication of automation software is enabling advertisers to target highly effective ads to the right audience at the right time across multiple screens.

And we’re not talking about banner ads. With a wealth of digital video options now available across mobile, desktop and other video streaming devices, like connected TVs, brands can target engaging, emotive ads at precisely defined audiences.

The power of TV on every screen

Since their advent, TV ads have been the hero of brand advertising. Sight, sound and motion enabled advertisers to tap into emotion and bring their products to life.

When digital media evolved, audiences moved online, creating new advertising opportunities -- the first being banner ads. Today, streaming video on connected devices and “over-the-top” (OTT) video services, like Netflix or Iflix, have made the power of TV available on a host of connected TV devices. These advances have taken digital advertising to a level, which provide little means to tell a story or hook consumers, if they’re noticed at all.

Advertisers are aware of these opportunities, but aren’t always taking advantage of the benefits that targeted video can bring.

The power of addressability

Digital can do something traditional TV can’t -- target an ad to a specific, verified audience. While traditional, linear TV advertising is served to whoever tunes in to watch a time slot, digital video ads can reach specific individuals at predetermined points in the purchase cycle.

These days, targeting possibilities in an automated ecosystem are limited only by a brand’s imagination. Numerous data sets can be tied together to enable precise targeting. For example, an auto brand may want to target a list of customers who are nearing a lease termination date. The publisher selected to serve the ads will have first-party data that the advertiser doesn't have, like age, location and gender. By combining these datasets together, the campaign will be able to hit auto intenders of a tightly-defined profile, making the targeting more powerful than if just one of the data sets was being deployed. Furthermore, automation opens up the possibility of activating lookalike audience segments from elsewhere around the web.

The certainty of verified campaign evaluation

While it’s not accurate to claim that traditional TV ads aren’t effective, it’s difficult to quantify exactly how effective they are. At a time when brands are searching for increasingly precise insights into whether their media investment is performing, the measurability of digital video is invaluable.

In the US, a BMW car dealership that partnered with SpotX to optimise campaign performance and drive traffic to its website was able to measure a completed view rate (CVR) of 89%, far exceeding SpotX’s automotive industry’s vertical average across desktop and mobile web. In addition, significant site traffic was generated by the campaign, with 68% of the dealership’s total conversions (website visits) originating from viewers of the ads. These results were achieved from pre-roll video ads tracked by a conversion pixel, enabling BMW to quantify how many users viewed the ad, and then visited their site.

How to plan your digital video buy

So, what do you need to know about digital video placement and how to plan your media buy? The old adages still apply.

Know your objectives and the KPIs you need to achieve them. Design the campaign to achieve your objectives and measure the indicators post-campaign to determine success. Then, feed the insights into the next campaign.

  1. Have a strong call to action at the end of the video -- design the creative for conversion in a digital space, rather than just for branding purposes.
  2. Be open to creative suggestions from your media agency or video specialist. They will be able to help share insights of what other clients are doing to be successful online.
  3. Always do wide AB testing with creative, audience profiles, pricing and so on. Then narrow it down to what works best for your brand.
  4. Viewability does not equal ROI. Follow the conversion, not how viewable your video is, and be ready to remarket. If a prospect doesn’t convert the first time, they’re not lost. Consider following up to recapture the consumer when they’re in a better mindset to purchase, or run a series of ads in a sequence to build a narrative and keep your audience more engaged.

Digital advertising is now a premium video world. The growth of connected TV and OTT content providers (and the enhanced targeting, attribution and accountability that they bring) has elevated digital video to the same hero status that traditional TV advertising enjoys. As consumers increasingly become their own TV programmers and access content across an expanding array of sources, the importance of a strong digital video media plan will only continue to grow.

Antoinette Patterson Senior Sales Asia (Demand Facilitation), SpotX

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