Marketing teams are spending more money on online video advertising than ever before. Here are a few ways you can do the same for your business.
Online advertising has cemented its place in marketing budgets around the world. Just last April, IAB revealed that internet advertising revenue for 2013 had reached $42.8 billion, overtaking broadcast television for the first time. An area that’s seen particular growth has been online video, with advertisers giving content originally developed for television a new lease of life as online material. But knowing how to maximize the return on your online video with sophisticated strategies is what separates the leaders from the pack.
Video content for your website usually falls into three fields; dedicated channels, native video and paid advertising.
Instream Video Advertising
Instream video places your creative at the beginning, middle or end of existing online video content. These usually take the form of a 15-second or 30-second ad repurposed from television, but some of today’s marketers are becoming much more savvy – creating elaborate, experiences or even producing new narratives exclusively for the digital ecosystem. The IAB established a number of interactive video formats it calls Digital Video Rising Stars – such as TimeSync, Ad Control Bar and Fullscreen – that invite audiences to interact with the ad, without being as intrusive or as detrimental to the viewing experience.
“Digital video opens up the world of opportunity for brands to benefit from both top line brand lift as well as bottom of the funnel conversions,” says John Douglas, Product Marketing Manager at a digital advertising firm, Sizmek. “Retail marketers in particular can use interactive video to raise awareness for upcoming sales or specials, while still giving audiences a chance to dive into specific product details – and maybe even click through to a site to purchase.” A great example of this is a TimeSync ad for Kiabi, where hotspots overlay the colorful video, enticing the user to interact, and then drives consumers to the retailer’s page.
With the stronghold Apple has over the mobile market, Douglas recommends the Apple-friendly HTTP Live Streaming format for video content.
“Basically any clients advertising on mobile devices should utilize this format to put their brand in the best light,” says Douglas. “Advertisers should ask their publishers to support it because it offers the optimal user experience.”
The major selling point of HLS is adaptive streaming, which uses automated bitrate changes to ensure a more consistent, steady playout of your content.
“If the connection is poor, the video will degrade gracefully, while maintaining a smooth un-interrupted playout experience,” explains Douglas. “As the connection gets better, the video will automatically scale back up to the highest possible quality without any stutter. If you’ve ever watched something on Netflix, you’ve seen adaptive streaming in action.”
Having a dedicated off-site channel for your video content has a number of advantages; until video content becomes more manageable as a standard (see below), hosting your content elsewhere saves you bandwidth, allows you to reach more people through social media elements, and maximises your reach by automatically catering for a range of outlets.
In a market containing the likes of DailyMotion and Vimeo, Youtube is one of the most prolific examples of a dedicated channel, allowing users to host, curate and embed in other sites from a library of video content in a range of fidelities and resolutions, which will change on the fly according to device and connection quality, to ensure maximum reach. It also facilitates the attachment of links to other content directly over video content, letting your content bring browsers to your website more directly. As a subsidiary of Google, Youtube takes advantage of the social media elements of Google+, and also employs a powerful suite of analytics, providing important information about your content’s viewers, their locations around the world, how they find your content, and what they think of it.
Content for your dedicated channels is typically of a greater range and scope than that of your other fields. While it can facilitate recycling of content developed for television, it’s best suited for long-form informative content of a retail-blogging philosophy; content reviews, interviews, and how-tos that educate browsers and inspire them to discover more through your website.
One of the best examples of a dedicated channel’s success is the sports entertainment group, Dude Perfect, whose Youtube channel of sports trick shots is followed by over 2.7 million subscribers, their videos watched 280 million times. Their videos vary between trick shot compilations, guest interviews and other content, all with a high focus on viewer interaction.
As their brand has grown they’ve played host to guests from the NBA, NFL, and other sports entities, and have forged collaborations with MTV, ESPN, Nerf, Gatorade, Pizza Hut, Nestlé and Hyundai, as well as fellow Youtube channel The Whistle, through their broad reach and clearly established demographic.
The group used this momentum to launch a merchandising arm, and have also published a book, Go Big, which details their success story as a brand, and offers advice to help other entrepreneurs reach the same heights.
Self-hosted video refers to hosting your video content directly on your own website, without using middlemen like Youtube or Vimeo. Previously the standard has been using embedded Flash files, which provided a lower file size and ease of implementation at the expense of video quality. But to properly future-proof your site, it may be worth investigating WebM.
Quickly being adopted amongst new websites and browsers for its image quality and overall file size, WebM allows content creators to embed their video content directly into websites. The practical upshot of this is that it gives users more manageable, higher-quality video content, while being as easy to implement and view as a stock-standard GIF animation. There are drawbacks, though; WebM playback is more resource intensive, meaning that while you’re ready for tomorrow, some of today’s browsers might have trouble viewing your content with their current hardware.
The versatility of WebM allows you to use it with whatever video content you feel is appropriate for your website, either as a design element or to engage viewers. These can be used in conjunction with other means of video content, such as inline advertising, with comparatively less complication. Keep in mind that WebM is a format even more easily shared than common movie files, so it’s best to use for content you are happy to share freely.
Finding the ideal online video marketing platform for your business is the key to taking advantage of this ever-growing market. However you decide to pursue it, it’s a decision that will reap rewards for your online presence.