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#Flashback 2013: Trends shaping the online video advertising business

As consumers become more accustomed to accessing content on the go and on personal devices such as laptops and mobiles, videos is seen as an important vehicle to tap on for creating newer and more effective avenues to connect with consumers. 2013 saw some of the biggest announcements on this front. The year ended with Facebook’s launch of auto-play video ads into users’ timelines. It had tested waters on Instagram rolling out a similar feature. Twitter launched the unique social platform for micro-videos – Vine, and also video ads, via its Amplify feature. Media agency Starcom Mediavest Group and Yahoo signed an agreement centering around original web video, personalised content and data-driven ads, relevant for viewers and for advertisers. AOL reinstated faith in video content with its acquisition of adap.tv. This proves how much the industry is betting big on the video platform, as figures also say that around 60 per cent of consumer web traffic is video.
Web video took almost USD 4.12 billion in ad dollars in 2013 according to eMarketer, nearly 6 per cent of the total ad dollars allocated to video on TV. Video ad budgets are fast-growing globally, as advertisers realise that the younger target group, especially the millennials, are moving away from television. A 39 per cent increase in advertiser spend on digital video in 2014 is predicted, compared to a mere 3.3 per cent increase in traditional TV spending.
Digital Market Asia rounds up five trends that shaped online video-based advertising in 2013.
#1: Recipe for brand recall – evoking the emotional side: Studies have shown that emotional video content is most likely (65 per cent) to help brands cut through the clutter and help viewers recall their message. Humour comes at a close second, with 51 per cent recall. The biggest newsmaker in the viral video category was the WestJet Christmas Miracle video, which reached 30 million views in just one week. Its YouTube, Facebook and Twitter channels saw whopping increases in number of followers. Not to mention, the enormous international mainstream media coverage it received, in spite of no official press release having been disseminated by the company. Another viral video was the animated Bear and Hare story released by John Lewis. Ultimately, the brand has seen direct impact on sales with the department store reporting GBP 101 million in the week after the campaign was release
The Google Reunion ad, Unilever’s Project Sunlight were other examples on how brands struck the right cord with the audience, by humanising themselves. The initiatives became conversation -starters – the real driving force behind the ‘share’ initiative. Brands which get this right, know that it’s the most important ingredient for a viral video. Showcasing genuine emotions creates personalisation; and helps form an instant bond between the consumer and the brand. Even the list released by YouTube showcasing the top 10 most watched ads, featured the ones which essayed emotional content.
#2: First 5 seconds: Getting the ‘micro’ management right: As attention spans reduce, several features have been offered by digital platforms, leading to a high cut-down on the duration of the promotional video content. Facebook is restricting its video ads to 15 seconds; Vine allows 6-second long promos; Youtube’s TrueView format allows skipping ads within 5-seconds. Most creative directors echo how much of importance is now being given to compressing of compelling content.
As a result we saw Vine re-instilling the excitement associated with teasers and short how-to videos as brevity took centrestage. Big fashion houses like Burberry released sneak-peeks of its collections and USA Today teasing next-day’s headlines. And as a result of YouTube’s TrueView format gaining prominence, even Dubai Lynx entries have a judging parameter which critiques the first 5-seconds.
#3: Prankvertising becomes an accepted terminology: A trend which now has a name in the digital media fraternity – prank advertising or prankvertising. Such marketing stunts are nothing new, but in 2013 particularly, brands reinvented this concept; thus generating free media coverage. One of the biggest promotions this year was the telekinetic prank – “Carrie”-inspired meltdown featuring customers of the coffee shop. Within the initial week the video launched, it had over 30 million hits on YouTube. Prankvertising videos have a high potential to go viral. Coca-Cola, LG, Samsung, Carlsberg, Samsung, TNT Television embraced this concept heavily in 2013, making it a big trend. Brands now realise it’s not just about racking up a huge number of views among new potential customers, but actually about being remembered and favoured.
#4: Mobile friendly content gains importance: It’s an established fact that marketers need to revisit their mobile marketing strategies and position themselves as a progressive, mobile-first company. There is a steady emergence of a category of users who are mobile-only browsers. Mobile video advertising has the potential to be incredibly successful as the video ad takes up the entire screen, claiming the user’s full attention, rather than just a small portion of both. Mobile devices account for 10 per cent of global online video plays. As per figures, video consumption will continue to grow on mobile devices as last year, there was a significant jump by 300 per cent. The trend is on the rise with tablets fuelling its growth. It is thus not surprising to see Facebook simultaneous roll-out of video ads on web as well as mobile format.
#5: Contextual video advertising: One area that many companies are focussing energies on looking at data and offering relevant ads to consumers. The objective is to not only encourage viewers to not skip or be engaged with the ad but also to give marketers the option of connecting with the right viewer, at the relevant time and at a good price, controlling wastage also from over exposures. Many companies looked to forge new partnerships and bring insights on how to approach online video advertising in 2013, the impact of which would be seen on the business in the year ahead. Asia would continue to be one of the biggest and strongest markets for videos.

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