Video ads are great, aren’t they? Well, except when the ad is longer than the video you were trying to watch in the first place. Or when the auto-play soundtrack lets the whole office know you’re diligently browsing the web. Or when that heart-warming ad for a fun family vacation reminds you just how single you are.
Video advertising is rarely out of the news right now—whether it’s Magna Global announcing a budget shift from TV to YouTube videos or Yahoo confirming its new video ad metrics, it’s widely covered. So it’s little surprise that U.S. digital video ad spending is skyrocketing, predicted to reach almost $30 billion by 2020.
It may be a valuable monetization channel for online publishers, but video advertising comes with its own unique set of challenges. So what mistakes are publishers making when implementing it and how can they be rectified for lasting success?
Allowing irrelevant or inappropriate ads
Advertising on a webpage should be relevant to both the audience viewing it and the page’s content. This is even more applicable to in-stream video where ads need to work with the length, style, and subject of the video with which they are served. Having to sit through a minute-long explanation of the latest skincare breakthrough to watch a ten second basketball clip, or endure endless car insurance ads when you don’t even drive, should surely be reasonable grounds for website abandonment.
To ensure maximum relevance, publishers should provide demand sources with as much demographic and contextual data about their audiences as possible, as well as details of the content around which video ads will be served.
Irritating consumers with auto-sound
Many publishers are now using out-stream video ads as a way to maximize available inventory and increase revenue, and users often prefer this to in-stream video as it is less intrusive and doesn’t stop them from getting to the content they want.
Unfortunately, out-stream users aren’t necessarily expecting a video to play. So auto-sound can be irritating if it interrupts their web experience. Desperately trying to find the mute button to silence the soundtrack of an auto-play video will—at best—negatively impact your opinion of a brand or—at worst—result in knocking coffee all over that expensive laptop. User experience must always be a top priority for publishers to avoid alienating their audience, so video ad placements and functionalities must be carefully considered.
Measuring ads served instead of ads seen
Video content is more in demand than ever, with 80 percent of the world’s mobile data traffic expected to be video by 2020. Yet, over three-quarters of video ads are playing off screen or in a background tab. No matter how innovative the video creative, its impact will be non-existent if it’s hidden from audiences.
Not surprisingly, viewability is a key concern for brands investing their budgets in video advertising. Consequently, publishers need to ensure their video content is seen, and measure viewable ads rather than just ads served. With a reliable system for measuring viewability, publishers can use their robust data and analytics to make inventory more valuable and attract the premium advertising their audiences will enjoy.
Fearing the latest technologies
Many publishers are wary of RTB video advertising, fearing that the auction process will result in reduced revenues from their prized inventory. But compared with direct sales, programmatic allows more focused targeting and better analytics. It also provides publishers with access to far wider global demand. There are many programmatic video models that ensure publisher profitability, which means new technologies should be explored rather than avoided when implementing video advertising.
Video is a lucrative way for publishers to monetize their inventory. By ensuring ad relevance and appropriateness, putting the audience experience first, using robust measurement techniques, and embracing programmatic video, publishers can circumvent the potential pitfalls and fully optimize this growing revenue stream.