Data Driven Creative – the Killer Combination for Video Ads

Justin Taylor

Video advertising offers the perfect platform for a marriage of data and creativity, but many advertisers are unaware of the creative opportunities available, argues Justin Taylor, UK MD Teads.

Advertising has come a long way since the first TV ad aired in the UK sixty years ago. When the ad for Gibbs toothpaste featured on ITV, it would have been a novelty for British audiences. Nowadays, we’re much more seasoned.

We watch videos across multiple screens at multiple times of day, sometimes simultaneously. Yet despite huge changes in the way we consume video content, many brands are still reusing the same thirty-second ad spots online that were created for TV audiences. The proliferation of pre-roll, or instream, ad formats are largely the cause of this, simulating the interruptive experience that’s the norm on TV.

Brands invest thousands of pounds into their TV ads, so it’s not surprising they want to get as much value out of them as possible by reusing them in digital campaigns. However, not tailoring content for online is a wasted opportunity. Online videos can be tailored to be more effective than TV could ever be, based on the format the ad is seen in, the context that surrounds it and, finally, the creative itself.

However, being more relevant doesn’t just mean swapping the title of a video for another, or grouping consumers together by age bracket. Creative agencies can now use data to change many elements of an ad, from scenes and narration, to length and style, to fit the preferences of the viewer. For example, if you know younger demographics respond better to shorter ads, you can change this accordingly. This can change the entire focus of an ad for every viewer; and we all know more personalised content leads to better conversions and ROI.

One great example of a truly personalised ad came from Honda at the end of last year, with its campaign ‘The Other Side’. During the ad, users have the option to switch the video between two scenarios using the keyboard, one of a man picking the kids up from school and one showing him in a bank heist. The footage is entirely in the hands of the viewer, meaning they can create their own individual experience – giving the brand full viewer engagement.

It’s never been more important for ads to be engaging and relevant. We know 15% of Brits already use an adblocker online to screen out annoying ads, and this number is set to grow over the next few years1. Even if they’re not blocking ads, internet audiences try to escape them at every turn. Our own research revealed 63% of web users skip online video ads “as quickly as possible”, over a quarter (26%) mute their sound, and one-in-five scroll away from video ads that stand in the way of their content.

If advertising creative and formats are more relevant and less annoying, users are less likely to block them altogether. We know that if ad formats are unintrusive and don’t interrupt the online experience, users are more likely to watch them all the way through – increasing brand awareness, message association, and brand favourability3.  If they fit in with the content on the page and are relevant to the user, completion rates increase yet again.

The opportunity is enormous – by 2017 video will account for 69% of all consumer internet traffic, and the most successful campaigns combine the best of both worlds. By combining the insights of data-driven marketing with the highly creative and engaging ad formats offered by video, marketers have a killer combination at their fingertips.

  1. IAB UK 2015 – Ad blocking software – consumer usage and attitudes
  2. Source: Enders Analysis, December 2014
  3. Source: Millward Brown custom study commissioned by Teads, June 2015