The capabilities of digital video today are farther-reaching and more precisely measured than ever before. If leveraged effectively, these capabilities offer the opportunity to bring unprecedented value to brands across industries.

Brian Kroll, vice president of sales and strategic accounts, Adtaxi vodep

Brian Kroll, vice president of sales and strategic accounts, Adtaxi

No longer limited just to pre-roll, in-banner and YouTube ads, video is growing at a lightning-fast rate in 2018. As the upward trend continues, advertisers are only just beginning to understand the vast potential of these platforms to boost brand awareness among target audiences in an increasingly fragmented market.

We are now entering a transformed media environment; a new era marked by cord-cutters, cord-nevers and diminishing returns within traditional television. In today’s landscape, the capabilities of digital video are farther-reaching and more precisely measured than ever before. If leveraged effectively, these capabilities offer the opportunity to bring unprecedented value to brands across industries.

Why Digital Video is Valuable

The ability to connect visually with consumers lends itself naturally to brand-building and name recognition, and the video medium allows for detailed storytelling and conveying large amounts of information in a short period of time, sending a message that resonates with audience members on an emotional level. When applied to digital, advertisers can leverage video to garner even better results than those achieved on broadcast television–results made possible through targeting, attribution and a strategic online approach.

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The optimal video length is just one to fifteen seconds; nearly half of consumers feel that video advertisements should not exceed this duration.

When crafting any strategy, it’s important to identify how the target audience consumes that medium. All too often, advertisers make the mistake of allocating a large portion of their budget to print newspaper and radio–industries that have notoriously been facing great difficulty in recent years. Broadcast television is currently experiencing the same phenomenon.

Indeed, when comparing the amount of time that consumers spend watching traditional TV against ad spending for that same medium, there is a distinct gap. Although both time and ad spend have decreased over the last three years, a clear discrepancy still exists between the numbers, with TV ad spend disproportionately high.

The exact opposite is true with digital video: Ad spend within this realm is disproportionately lower than the time that audiences spend consuming it. While both time and ad spend are increasing in recent years, the gap still exists. Knowing that digital video offers lower rates, better targeting and more conversion tracking opportunities, it’s a no-brainer that advertisers should choose to allocate more money towards digital video to catch up with consumer habits.

Audience trends support this stance: Increasingly more time is being spent on other devices outside of traditional broadcast television–whether it’s on a phone, tablet or computer. A remarkable eighty-five percent of the U.S. internet audience watches videos online and half of U.S. consumers subscribe to paid streaming video. In addition, more video content is uploaded in 30 days than the major U.S. television networks have created in 30 years, and more than 500 million hours of videos are watched on YouTube each day. Not to mention, it’s one of the fastest growth vehicles for marketers: Those using video grow revenue 49% faster than non-video marketers.

But why is now the time for businesses to dive into video? The answer boils down to three factors: Costs, targeting and reporting, and integration with other digital products.

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Costs: Television spots tend to be quite expensive, which precludes many advertisers from running them. Fortunately, digital video placement is significantly less costly–and as it becomes more commoditized with increased competition and availability, those costs will continue to decline. Further, one key reason that advertisers don’t run videos is because they don’t have the assets, or don’t want to pay for them. This argument has become a moot point now that production costs are declining as well.

Targeting and Reporting: One of the best aspects of digital—whether it be video or any other platform—is that it is highly targeted and can be easily tracked. Programmatic buying allows brands to position a video message exclusively in front of the key target audience at the right time, and for the right price. They can then track audience interactions with the video and subsequent actions taken with goods or services on the brand website.

Other Digital Products: Another major selling point, video can fit in seamlessly with an advertiser’s wider digital strategy by driving awareness to the brand, which in turn generates improved results with search and social campaigns. What’s more, it can reach target audiences across multiple devices such as laptops, smartphones, tablets, and connected TV–something broadcast TV could never do.

Omnichannel

Contrary to popular belief, video is not solely an awareness tool; rather, it has elements that span the entire purchasing decision process, and serves as a key component of an effective cross-channel strategy.

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Fifty years ago–when there were fewer channels and viewing platforms–it was easy to hold audience attention on one television show. However, times have changed and today’s audiences are more fragmented than ever, split across a vast array of devices, with the ability to view content on-demand, whenever they want. The challenge now is for advertisers is to get in front of those audiences wherever they might be. As such, having an omnichannel approach is crucial for brands to ensure they are reaching their target audiences at all times, across devices.

Driving a successful omnichannel strategy with video requires advertisers to incorporate a variety of digital formats, including RTB pre-roll, search/YouTube, social, addressable TV, connected TV, as well as owned and operated. Although many companies speak about video as if it is a product in and of itself, video is really just a different creative format that still fits into paid search, paid social and display advertising. This means that, as long as the brand has video assets, the campaign can be run and optimized the same way as any regular search, social or display campaign.

Before diving into an omnichannel campaign, brands must ask themselves: Who do I want to reach? This question becomes more detailed with digital versus other traditional platforms. While TV leverages indices and ratings to get in front of an audience, there are various methods of targeting users on digital, each with their own benefit.

First-Party Data: First-party data received from website visits is the holy grail. It can be used to build audiences comprised of consumers who already know the brand and are most likely to make a purchase.

Third-Party Data: Third-party targeting takes things a step further by targeting demographics and behaviors of key audiences, such as men or women aged X interested in Y. Brands must take care to make certain this data is highly secure and anonymized to mitigate privacy concerns.

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Look-A-Like Modeling: This tool allows brand to leverage first party data to reach other consumers who exhibit similar characteristics. For instance, a list of past customers can be used to create a look-a-like audience of individuals similar to these purchasers, allowing the brand to reach others who are likely to make a purchase.

Retargeting: Lastly, retargeting gives brands the ability to reach people that have visited their website across multiple devices as well as multiple platforms–providing an opportunity for sequencing the brand message while also allowing for a truly omnichannel approach.

It’s also important when developing an omnichannel strategy for brands to remember that the message they convey to consumers should be tailored to each different stage of the path to purchase. For example, they should focus on making a good first impression by introducing the brand in the awareness stage, and then, for the consideration stage, provide additional information and explain offerings more in-depth. Next, for the decision stage, prospects should be given a final reason for choosing the brand–perhaps a case study or a testimonial–and lastly, brands must go the extra mile to be thankful to customers in the loyalty stage.

Keep in mind that these messages should be brief. In fact, the optimal video length is just one to fifteen seconds; nearly half of consumers feel that video advertisements should not exceed this duration. There’s no doubt about it: Consumer attention is limited, and the shorter the spot, the higher the likelihood of getting a completed view.

Ultimately, using video as part of a digital marketing strategy entails communicating with the target audience appropriately in each stage of the customer journey, taking into consideration the most fitting execution for each stage. Driving an omnichannel approach in this way will help brands efficiently target audiences through the purchase funnel, ensuring they convert or make a purchase. In today’s digital environment, all of the pieces have fallen into place to offer a highly targeted, cost-efficient opportunity for brands to thrive with video–and time is of the essence to take advantage of its immense potential.

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Adtaxi is a digital marketing agency based in Denver.