Why a Video Strategy is Critical for Publishers

When the value of a product soars, everyone wants to stock it. So, with video ad spend growing by 40% this year and due to rise by a further 32% in 2017, it’s no surprise that publishers are rushing to adorn their shop front with the ‘video sold here’ sign. Writing exclusively for ExchangeWire, Alex Bornyakov, co-founder and CEO, VertaMedia explains why, when it comes to video strategy, acting in haste is a bad decision for a reason.

Video has the ability to foster strong audience engagement that leaves a lasting impression; just three seconds of ad exposure can drive 47% uplift in brand recall. Yet, if ads are poorly targeted, low quality, or unsuitably placed, they can be memorable for all the wrong reasons.

The only way to avert video advertising disaster is to take a bespoke planning approach. Instead of viewing video as a last-minute addition, publishers should consider it as an independent channel that requires its own unique strategy to ensure campaign success.

Why video deserves its own limelight

Video isn’t just prevalent — due to account for 80% of global web traffic by 2019 — it’s also powerful. According to a study by Axonn, 7-in-10 people feel better disposed towards brands after watching their video content. The research also showed the domino effect of videos that inspire, with 75% of consumers sharing videos they like through networks like Facebook or Twitter. And, if that wasn’t enough, video offers a gateway to mobile attention, with 58% of global smartphone users streaming content daily.

Video has the capacity to boost perceptions of a brand, earn advocates who will spread its messages far and wide, and reach coveted mobile audiences. This is an attractive prospect for brands and the publishers keen to leverage their ad budgets. But, there is a catch: these golden possibilities only become realities if video campaigns are interesting, appropriate, and personal. If not, the consequences can be negative for all concerned.

The pitfalls of bad video advertising
Alex Bornyakov | VertaMedia

Alex Bornyakov, Co-founder & CEO, VertaMedia

For most publishers, the dominant video ad format is in-article — ads that sit alongside their own content and play when users scroll past it. When this works well, the rewards are great: brands get prominent placements they will pay more for, publishers get greater yields.

But when publishers see video as a bolt on and cut corners, the result can be very different. Inadequate focus on accurate targeting can mean that, at best, users are served irrelevant and disruptive ads that are highly visible (reflecting badly on brands and publishers). Or at worst, they might be presented with contextually inappropriate ads; which can be a particular issue if the website houses user-generated content.

Choosing inefficient ad platforms in haste or failing to streamline internal processes can also create a cascade of problems: slow ad load times that cause website latency, which leads to audience dissatisfaction and ad blocking. At least it does for 36% of ad-block users.

Yet this unfortunate series of events is preventable. All publishers need to do is spend a little time implementing a robust strategy that puts video advertising best practices at its core.

The three key principles of good video advertising

Before publishers are lured by the ever-swelling video ad spend honey pot and dive in head first, here are three key considerations to bear in mind:

1. Aim to make great content, not just ads

To be impactful, ads must be built for maximum engagement, quality, and shareability, just like content, and they require the same level of strategic planning. Treat video as a separate entity and consider: who are you targeting and how will you gain their interest? Is the video part of a cross-channel connected story — if so, how does it slot together and what will you do to ensure optimal experiences on each device?

2. Minimise disruption wherever possible

Viewability is a priority for brands and publishers, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of user satisfaction. When constructing your video model, choose a provider that offers a balanced advertising approach, such as ads that are delivered in-stream and easy to see, yet muted until consumers choose to engage with them, or native ad formats that seamlessly blend with their surroundings and make ads a natural part of the content experience.

3. Embrace innovative new formats

Although planning and strategy are crucial, agility is equally as important to stay competitive and keep users interested — so don’t be afraid to utilise emerging video ad formats like virtual reality, 360-degree video, and live streams, if they are right for your site. By bringing something different to the table, you can ensure advertising revenue continues flowing and users remain loyal.

The video advertising market is booming and the opportunity it offers for publishers to monetise their inventory is vast. But they must resist the temptation to rush in. Without pausing to build a robust video strategy, they run the risk of trying brand and user patience, which makes investing in planning now more than worth it for the dividends it will pay in the future.

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