Digital and mobile video advertising have been on the rise among marketers for quite some time, with eMarketer reporting a 67% growth in spending since 2015. Due to marked improvement in viewability rates, consumers are now beginning to respond more positively to video ads with increased engagement. At the same time, platforms are experimenting with emerging video ad formats, and we anticipate this to be a big year for introducing new formats into the market.
Marketers can master video advertising with a combination of harnessing ad creative automation for fast iterations with beautiful video ads that are both on-brand and personalized, based on user interests, platform and device. Brands should broaden their approach to video ads this year to ensure they don’t miss out on opportunities to connect with audiences.
Here are the top trending video ad formats that you should consider for your digital marketing campaign strategy:
1) Facebook Creative Shop best practices
Facebook marketers are now experimenting with taking still image assets and turning them into dynamic video ads. The in-house Facebook Creative Shop reviewed hundreds of top performing ads, and identified four different categories in which all of these ads fell into: Basic Motion (still images animated with 1-2 elements in motion), Brand in Motion (adding motion to the brand or logo), Benefit in Motion (animating the benefit messaging in the ad with typography), and Demo in Motion (demonstrating an app, website product or feature with the ad). Adding just this bit of animation to stills can be as simple as just a few layers with different characters moving and use of music, and still be eye-catching to viewers. The following are tips and best practices on how to improve videos to increase your ad’s user value:
- Brand in Motion: A video with an emphasis on your brand. You can add excitement by showing a portion of video and then showing an aspect of your brand. Imagine brand in motion followed by a logo in motion.
- Basics in Motion: A simple video or an animation. You can start from a still image and add some movement like a few layers with different characters moving. You can also use music to add excitement.
- Benefit in Motion: A video with an emphasis on your products’ benefits. Tell the user what to expect and why they should play. You can achieve this quickly by showing characters, levels, action, etc. Using short ad copy to highlight benefits is very effective strategy.
- Demo in Motion: A video with an emphasis on how your product works. For mobile games, screen capture gameplay and place it inside a phone. This simple video works because it shows actual game play on a mobile device, and shows the viewer that it’s a mobile game to be downloaded.
2) Six-second video ads
Recently, YouTube started offering marketers the chance to capture the attention of mobile audiences with bite-sized, six-second videos, and the format has taken off. These ads aim to tell an entertaining, funny or smart story in just six seconds. And, yes, it’s actually possible. Viewers are much more open to watching a super quick video before or as an interstitial to content because of the brevity and direct message. In particular, six-second videos resonate with the attention levels of younger consumers. Facebook is starting to work with some of its advertisers with the new format, and we expect the short videos to be the immediate future of video advertising this year.
3) Playable video ads
It’s getting harder and harder to engage viewers with simple banner ads—“banner blindness” is a real issue plaguing the ad market. These mobile “‘playable” video ads literally let viewers play part of a game immediately before showing the call to action for conversion. Both players and advertisers alike are liking the effectiveness of the new format. The popular format is really only best suited for game publishers; however, so most other app categories will likely miss out on a playable use case.
4) Rewarded video ads
Viewers want something in return for their time watching an ad—hence the introduction of rewarded video ads. Rewards are typically in-app items, such as game currency or starter packs that boost player progress in-game. For non-gaming apps, rewards can also include unlocking exclusive content or access. Early research is already indicating that viewers are responding favorably to these new emerging formats - especially with mobile users receptive to playable and rewarded video ads, according to eMarketer.
Marketer’s next steps
Regardless of which video format that you decide to start running, it all begins with good creative and constant testing. In a market that is flush with video content and short viewer attention spans, iterating quickly and with a continuous stream of video creative to test is how marketers will succeed not only among the competition, but in sourcing the most entertaining and effective videos for viewers. Perhaps you start with six-second videos and videos from simple assets, and graduate to more interactive formats like playbles and rewarded, but structure your creative pipeline such that you’re generating hundreds of video iterations monthly to publish and optimize.
Brian Bowman is CEO of Consumer Acquisition, based in San Francisco.