Picture This: An Audience-First Approach to Video Advertising

I believe  2021 will be an exciting year for video advertising. Advancements in technology and emerging formats will help advertisers tailor their video advertising to be more relevant than ever.

It’s been proven that data-driven digital marketing is most successful when delivering personalized messaging to specific customer segments. Today’s consumers are demanding more relevant and assistive ad experiences than ever before.

Yet, when it comes to video advertising, marketers often consider it a limited format to drive mass reach, brand awareness, and consideration. Marketers run the same ad created for television in digital no matter the context. This can be a drastically different environment whether the audience is catching up on shows online, or falling down rabbit holes on YouTube or TikTok.

While there may be trouble shifting mindsets away from the legacy of the 30 second TV spot, we’ve seen success when video strategies are expanded to include other parts of the funnel. Since viewers can now watch what they want, when they want, they tune out if content isn’t relevant to them. Brands need to work harder than ever to stand out. With the consumption of video currently spiking, we feel it’s worth it.

Message to the Moment

Video consumption has evolved. Rather than the laid-back, passive viewing experience of consuming linear TV shows, people can now learn a new skill, watch a funny clip or check out the latest craze on social media. Viewers can now be much more interactive with video ads, whether that be a click, a swipe or a purchase.

We know personalizing video campaigns can seem overwhelming – with video delivery and consumption being more crowded – but it doesn’t have to be. Luckily there are platform solutions to help streamline the process. The key to effective video advertising is aligning three things:

  • Custom video creative
  • Audience segmentation and mindset
  • Device and format delivery

Custom Video Creative

When creating video for digital advertising, it is important to apply a few fundamental best practices. An important one is to make sure you’re grabbing attention within the first five seconds. Since we’re not in a passive environment, the build of a traditional story arc runs the risk of not keeping viewers engaged. It’s best to use shorter and more succinct scenes with quick cuts and fast pacing. Don’t try to get too much information across; keep your narrative simple and focused.

Using lightweight video creation methods can also be a good idea. While it’s possible to repurpose existing video assets, lightweight video creation such as using illustrations and animation, can help tailor  messaging cheaper, and faster. With this tactic it’s possible to create a handful of videos to test against one another.

Whether it be out of necessity, budget or timing, you don’t always need a live-action shoot to create effective video advertising.

There is a benefit to being agile and getting your message to market quickly, then testing and optimizing while in-flight, which will help fine-tune your campaign.

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. The important thing is to learn from what you do and to utilize results to refine the approach until it’s been narrowed down.

Audience Segmentation and Mindset

Creating meaningful audience segments and anticipating viewers’ needs is vital. Being able to align your creative messaging to respond to those needs is even more so. Research finds that relevant video ads get three times the attention of an average video ad.

It is possible to serve video creative to a specific audience demographic and location, but another option is to align video creative based on what consumers are in the market for. Google proprietary audiences go beyond an audience’s demographic and location to reach someone based on their intent: what they want, what they’re in the market for, and what they need at any particular time.

Understanding the mindset of the consumer can have a substantial impact on their ad receptivity. According to an IAB study, 58% of digital video viewers say they prefer ads related to the content they’re watching. For instance, receiving a supermarket ad when watching a cooking video is more effective than if it was served during unrelated content. The task for marketers is to match the message to the moment.

 Device and Format Delivery

It’s important to keep in mind the different ways audiences are consuming video. What they’re watching and how can be quite different depending on the device, platform and transaction type the ad is being served on. Viewers could be watching on mobile, desktop or Connected TV (CTV). Aligning ad creative with the delivery to device and platform is especially important with video campaigns.

 Once you know the delivery format, it’ll be important to optimize the creative accordingly. For instance, with mobile ads it’s important to crop video close and alter the aspect ratio. For desktop and mobile, assume the audience is not watching with their sound on, so add subtitles to get your message across. For CTV, just the opposite; assume sound is on and you’ll need higher resolution video assets than on other devices.

Looking ahead with Video Advertising

I believe  2021 will be an exciting year for video advertising. Advancements in technology and emerging formats will help advertisers tailor their video advertising to be more relevant than ever. The ability to tap into data will offer richer storytelling possibilities, which we’ve seen some great examples of already.

For brands already successfully using video advertising, now is a great time to fine-tune your strategy. For those that haven’t, the opportunity to get started shouldn’t be missed. Taking an audience-first approach to video advertising can help you win the hearts and minds of your customer, and set your brand up for success in the new year.