Kantar Millward Brown

Point of View

Video Advertising: Getting it Right

One element of advertising success is delivering the right content to the right audience, in the right context. AdReaction Video helps marketers understand how to do this.

There's nothing new about the phrase "the right time, the right consumer, the right place". Digital has made it more current and more possible – but also more challenging.

In particular, using online behavioral data to gauge interest and intent, when determining the right time to advertise, has often obscured the need for a smarter approach. (See our recent article, Bringing Brand Data to Programmatic)

Millward Brown's AdReaction Video1 study helps highlight how the right context, the right content and the right person can best be applied to video advertising in a multiscreen world.

The right person

We know category interest and brand disposition will affect response to advertising. Millward Brown’s Brand Lift Insights and CrossMedia studies show that people who have a strong pre-disposition to a brand will react differently to advertising than those who are less pre-disposed.

We also know that a higher brand disposition may shorten a consumer’s decision-making time for purchases. If we could identify these consumers more easily, we would know that the frequency of the advertising could well be lower, and the messages we need to convey would be different.

In an ideal world, brand relationship would help define our target audiences and develop our campaign content. The reality is less than ideal but our AdReaction Video study shows that targeting that appears to be based on category interest and brand disposition is welcomed by the consumer. It also shows that targeting based on web browsing history, video viewing history, online search history; online shopping history, demographic profile (age, gender, etc.) and social media profile are less favorably received.

Targeting needs to imply that you understand someone. If it starts to feel like spying or stalking, people become unhappy.

Determining who you want to reach is just the first part of the communication equation. Choice of media channel is driven by considerations of reach, cost efficiency, addressability and increasingly by time spent consuming media channels.

Should share of spend align with share of time spent? We know from AdReaction Video that multiscreeners spend as much time watching online video (and particularly mobile video) as they do watching TV.

Smartphones are now the primary device for younger multiscreeners, who also watch a lot of TV and online video on other devices. Older audiences still favor Live TV over On Demand TV and digital devices.

Before marketers start redistributing spend away from TV, they should account for factors such as the ratio of content to advertising in each channel as well as the state of the media landscape in terms of the concentration/fragmentation of vehicles/publications/channels. Most importantly they should consider the levels of receptivity to video advertising for each screen.

Receptivity for key screens

The variety of screens that consumers now have gives brands more options when choosing the right time, place, mood, social setting and surrounding context.

The bottom line from the AdReaction Video study is that no form of video advertising is well-liked. When people are consuming video content we see a consistent mind set across screens. People are looking to be entertained or informed, irrespective of the device being used. Video advertising generally interrupts that entertainment or information gathering. However, video ad receptivity is higher (really, less negative) for TV than for digital screens. Many people claim they don’t like digital video ads. The gap between digital and TV receptivity has closed over the years, but people still prefer TV ads.

This tells us that online video particularly needs to earn the right for attention. According to a recent study2, the number of people using ad blocking software grew globally by 41% in the second quarter of 2015, year-on-year. It’s estimated that $21.8 billion in ad revenue will be blocked this year.

The AdReaction Video Study shows that respondents are more receptive to advertising when they feel they have more control over exposure to ads. Receptivity to skippable pre roll and click-to-play video formats is much higher (viewed more positively than TV ads) than to non-skippable video formats (opinions are much more negative than TV and other digital ads). Interestingly, people are far more forgiving about the lack of control over live TV ads because they’re used to the low levels of ad control, and accepting of it.

There is also evidence that social viewing increases receptivity to video advertising, while binge watching shows a decrease in receptivity.

The right content

In determining the right content for your video advertising, it’s worth remembering that skippable formats are a creative challenge. Brands should aim for early impact to prevent skipping, and to ensure that even when an ad is skipped it has made an impact. Viewing can drop by half after the first few seconds of a skippable ad. If the brand isn’t seen in the first few seconds, you’ve lost half your audience. We also learned that using humor is the best way to prevent ad skipping.

With click-to-play formats, it’s important to use an intriguing image and catchy headline to draw viewers in.

Creative tactics can also blend with the selection of media format or content type. For example, ads that offer rewards are generally preferred. Native content can also help by presenting information in a format similar to the publisher’s content. On smaller mobile screens, the stream itself is the entire user experience (static display advertising is used much less often now).

In the future, native may be an important format on mobile but it’s important this approach isn’t abused by publishers or advertisers. It's critical for both media companies and brands to clearly identify native advertising spots by using terms like "sponsored", "promoted" and "advertorial".

AdReaction Video also shows us that people are more receptive to non-advertising, branded videos. This type of content is usually information based and intended to be “valued” in the sense that it is useful, helpful, interesting, educational, and often highly targeted to a specific audience.

Tutorial videos, which have more niche appeal, and review videos are also very popular. Review videos are usually presented by independent voices, and although they may require giving up some control over content they are well received.

Key Takeaways

  • Show you understand your target, but don't stalk them. Targeting that appears to be based on interest and disposition is acceptable but targeting based on viewing history and profile is not.
  • Recognize low digital advertising receptivity by taking a new approach to content. Use skippable ad formats, embrace branded content, and go native.
  • Adapt advertising to more receptive formats for digital platforms. Use skippable formats; shorter ads are more likely to be fully viewed on digital platforms and vertical video orientation is increasingly being deployed on mobile screens.

References

  1. What is AdReaction Video? – Survey research was conducted in 42 countries among 13,000+ 16-45 year old Multiscreen Users. Parallel copy testing research (TV vs online vs mobile) was conducted for 20 ads in 8 countries.
  2. The Cost of Ad Blocking – PageFair and Adobe 2015 Ad Blocking Report.
John Svendsen
Global Brand Director, Media
Millward Brown
john.svendsen@millwardbrown.com