Keeping Digital Video In Check For Advertisers
Video — online or on the big screen, remains a powerful medium. It elicits emotion, brings distant stories into focus, and captures the human element in a way that text stories and flat images will always have to compete (though Pew Research Center found that young people still prefer to read than watch when it comes to news). In the past six month, many of the challenges digital video presents to consumers, brands, and publishers have come into full light:
• The hazards of ubiquitous “live” video. Live and near-live broadcast video via Periscope, Snapchat and Facebook/Instagram represent a natural extension of the YouTube generation of user-created content. However, several incidents including last year’s shooting, multiple suicides, and instant replays outside of sanctioned video rights at concerts, sporting events, and boxing matches challenge what people consider to be high quality content.
• Autoplay. In August, Facebook upped the ante for advertisers by adding Autoplay for videos by default in the news feed. Already, browsers support CNN and NBC blaring video from their news feeds before consumers can hit the stop or mute button. These browser-based features can be turned off, but only if you dig deep into each browsers’ setting.
• Brand safety in the #fakenews era. YouTube in particular got hit with some video challenges when brands pulled back on advertising that showed up next to controversial content back in March. Google and Facebook had to shift engineers to the task of better understanding of content that brands do not want to be adjacent to, and come up with policies for video and site traffic with quality that is unverified.
• The rise of digital, episodic TV. The “new new” in video is the huge explosion of content, only a portion of which is ad supported. While Hulu and digital platforms from traditional media companies include advertising, the rising stars in the TV world air on Netflix and Amazon, neither of while pause for commercial interruption.
There is a bright side to the fast-growing video segment. MRC’s review of their viewability standards, GroupM’s move to a higher standard for viewability, and better, AI derived management tools to manage brand safety on YouTube have solved some of these concerns, but not all. For advertisers who are already spending $10 billion on video ads in the U.S., your guiding light should be:
• Assume the worst, and ask tough questions accordingly.What I believe caught advertisers (or more likely, their agencies) off-guard was the idea that they didn’t hold back on budgets until reporting was available. Shame on them. As a brand owner, you have to worry every day about where you message will land. One recent example of an oops – AirBnB promoted a floating holiday on the same day Harvey landed in Houston.
• Pay more for quality video concepts. The rule of CPMs is that you pay more for the people and placements you want, and impressions are fewer. That’s the way it should be. With the same budget applied to better quality, more relevant media, you should see better results. You can also use folks like ViralGains to customize advertising on the fly, or SpotX to optimize digital video through carefully curated ad exchanges.
• Stick to branded sites, even within network buys. Video ad networks like YuMe and Brightroll can get you in front of your audience as they identify them, across screen and sites. But steer clear of blinded site lists, since video inventory can live in some dark recesses of the internet. Its more laborious, but will be worth the safety of keeping customers and board members to hassle you over media placements you didn’t know about. Better though, is to keep focused on the sites that manage their own content if brand safety is a concern. If your audience is on Vox, NBC, Vice or Mic, at least you know who and what you are getting.
Courtesy of Forbes.com