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Video advertising rethought: From ‘click-to-skip’ to ‘click-to-watch’

Veena Shobhani, Director of Partnerships and Operations, Outbrain, writes how brands can get online video advertising right

Veena Shobhani

The online video advertising market is booming and is on a steady growth path. However, the industry has to be careful not to repeat the mistakes of banner advertising. Users are flooded with advertising videos on all platforms and increasingly feel disturbed by them. According to the results of a recent study by Magna, most users now automatically skip skippable video ads on YouTube without paying attention to the brand or the content. But even without the automatic skip, brands only have a few seconds to convince the user of the video. Brands have learned a lot and, therefore, attach great importance to the first few seconds of a video in order to prevent the skip by all means.

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So it's often not because of the content. In many cases the content is correct. They inspire, move emotionally or offer added value. Many brands do everything right in terms of concept and production, but do not use the right channels for distribution and consciously accept that they will disrupt consumers.

Use the discovery moment for video advertising

Surveys also show that there is still significant potential for improving the user experience when distributing video clips. A study conducted by Outbrain together with Opinion Matters on the online use of content in Germany has shown that 33% of German Internet users feel disturbed by pop-up video ads within editorial articles, 27% ignore them. The study also shows that over a quarter of respondents are pre-roll video ads on platforms like YouTube. 26% of the study participants ignore these advertisements at all (Outbrain and Opinion Matters: "The Unconscious Content Bias", 2017).

Another finding of the study, however, is the general susceptibility to content recommendations. According to the same study, German Internet users spend a third of their time reading content that they have not actively searched for. So users want to be guided to relevant content, but at the same time do not want to be disturbed by ads when consuming the articles or videos they have selected. If brands follow this principle, they can significantly increase the engagement of their target group.

From click-to-skip to click-to-watch

In the open web, native placements below articles on publisher pages are already an effective platform for brands to promote their stories and products. With regard to engagement, i.e. the length of stay after the click or the conversion rate, the native ads, which were originally only available as image / text combinations, have already left conventional banners many times over. The integration of video ads at the end of the article within these placements is now also possible. Does the remedy for banner blindness also help against video blindness? This can be the case, precisely because the native placements take advantage of the moment when users have finished reading their article and are ready for new content.

Long-form videos with a length of 60-90 seconds are particularly suitable for this format, which also offer users added value, i.e. entertain or provide useful information. The recycling of commercials or in-feed videos, which, for example, must work without sound in social networks, is not recommended for this format. After all, it is not just the first few seconds until the skip click that counts. However, the video recommendations must assert themselves against other high-quality brand and publisher content.

In fact, the top commercials from last year show that many brands already have long-form videos that are also ideal for native advertising. The integration of call-to-action buttons in the videos, which lead to landing pages with further information, enables further interaction with the users. The first tests have shown that with interesting content, click rates of 10% on these buttons are possible.

100% opt for high completion rates

Advertisers should learn from history: Just as interrupting display advertising led to banner blindness, interrupting video advertising will also lead to video blindness if the trend is not counteracted. As a user, we already often click away advertising automatically. Brands should keep an eye on the target group not only in production, but also in media planning and distribution and should do everything possible to improve the user experience when advertising is played out. Transparency and pull marketing approaches such as click-to-watch formats can be the solution.

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of BestMediaInfo.com and we do not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.)

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