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Cognitive quotient: Video or Display

If you are someone who is always on social media, the one glaring change you will notice is that your timelines show a lot more video-related posts or tweets than ever before. This may be because people are sharing a lot more video content these days. But it is more so because platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are taking notice of this trend and are giving video content a lot more precedence on timelines than ever before.

What is it about video that has made it so popular?
Research reports show that consumers are 39 per cent more likely to share content if it is delivered via video, and 36 per cent more likely to comment and 56 per cent more likely to give that video a much coveted ‘like’. Between reading, hearing and watching, the third seems to be the best medium of communication irrespective of the channels. It is also observed that the human brain processes video content 60,000 times faster than text. While reading requires an active mind and a good attention span, videos are easily consumed by a passive mind.

On the other hand, the on-the-go, always connected nature of smartphones has today made them the preferred device for content consumption, especially videos. In fact, a Cisco-VNI estimate suggests that video traffic made up for 55 per cent of the global mobile data traffic at the end of 2014. While these figures are exceptionally high, in 2015 these numbers are only set to go up with increasing smartphone penetration, improving connectivity and availability of devices with better video playback capabilities. So what does this mean for the mobile advertising industry?

Audience engagement index
Advertising and mobile both individually have seen an exponential evolution. However mobile advertising is still in its nascent stages of growth but is swiftly gaining momentum as audiences are rapidly accepting and engaging with content on mobile ads. To keep this momentum going, marketers need to align their strategies with the ever-changing audience interests and behaviour. What will matter when reaching out to their audiences is how relevant, timely and engaging the content is.

While it all started with display ads, the industry slowly evolved to rich media ads and today we have a variety of ad formats available. Within the available formats, video ads are proving to be the next big thing to engage audiences. Apart from being highly immersive, video ads result in greater audience stickiness and provide high reach and recall. In fact, the audience reach with video ads has gone up to 81 per cent in Thailand followed by 78 per cent in Malaysia. India, Philippines and Vietnam having their video ad reach in the range of 50 to 60 per cent.

Innovation equals eyeballs
It is mundane to keep consuming similar looking content online especially since viewers go online for discovery and variety. It thus becomes essential for marketers to innovate with their content along with the mode of delivery. While innovation will largely take care of this need, it is also imperative to package large bits of content into smaller packets to attract the user’s attention span. In such situations, video-based ads work like magic. A few of these innovations in the area of video ads include:
#1. Video player skinning – An innovative way to blend your video with the ad by skinning the page with customised branding
#2. Interactive video flow – In this ad format where users are prompted to make an action and basis their action, users can select their own video viewing journey
#3. Auto-play video – A billboard loads along with site and the video starts automatically on mute. Users have an option to unmute.

Typical video ad formats that are available include interstitial ad (full-screen HTML ads that have a video embedded), video interstitial ad (full screen video ad appearing with app transitions), pre-roll video ad (integrated natively into the video content) and rewarded videos ads (incentivises the users on watching the complete video).

Such varied ad formats and innovations in video ads can arm marketers with the right ammunition to eliminate audience engagement challenges. So if you’re a marketer looking to engage your audience on smartphones, there is a big opportunity with video ads waiting to be capitalised.