Michael Rich
Nov 13, 2017

What video advertising can learn from the rise and fall of banner ads

The demise of one of the web's old favourites was due to overcrowding and consumer ad fatigue. Video ads can and should avoid the same pitfalls.

What video advertising can learn from the rise and fall of banner ads

Video content has captured the hearts of advertisers globally. The facts speak for themselves: video ad spending rose 142 percent in Q2 2017 compared to the previous quarter; global media companies Mic and Vice are firing writers to make way for new video production capabilities, and LinkedIn is poised for massive revenue gains after announcing in October that it will begin rolling out video ads to all brands in 2018.

We are also seeing increased demand from consumers with video streaming now accounting for around two-thirds of all internet traffic. Indeed, in Asia Pacific, we are now watching around 100 minutes per day and the value of the online video market is predicted to reach US$35 billion by 2021 — an annual growth rate of 22 percent. The appeal is clear, who doesn’t love watching videos online? From short-form content across social media to feature-length films, watching video via the internet has emerged as one of the world’s favourite pastimes.

However, while consumers may get carried away with their love for online video, advertisers should approach it with some caution. As an industry, it’s our job to ensure that video content doesn’t become the banner ad of the next generation — hot to rise, hot to fall.

The first banner ads launched in 1994, off the back of AT&T’s famous “You Will” ad that nabbed an astonishing 44 percent click-through rate. Brands swarmed to get a piece of the digital advertising pie, because at the time, banner ads were a fantastic solution — maximum eyeballs for minimal spend, and easy-to-measure results.

However, in just a few years, problems became apparent. Fraudulent bots were clicking on banner ads, resulting in wasted ad spend and unreliable metrics. Ad blockers followed, meaning the most relevant consumers often didn’t see any ads at all. In contrast, consumers without ad blockers saw banner ads everywhere they looked, and simply stopped paying attention.

There is already evidence that video advertising could be hurtling in the same direction. Around 94 percent of pre-roll video ads are skipped, and 82 percent of people report that they have closed a web page because of an auto-playing video ad. Online video ads can be of particular annoyance to millennials — the customer segment many brands are most eager to reach, but also the segment that is most prone to ad fatigue. Indeed, a recent global study by Unruly found that 93 percent of millennials would consider installing ad blocking software in the future. If advertisers aren’t careful, video could fall prey to the same troubles that took down the banner ad.

That said, I believe video ads are here to stay. They can offer brands enormous value when they’re done right.

Firstly, the video content itself must be top quality production; from script, to editing, to final touches such as subtitles. This is crucial when you take into consideration that 85 percent of videos on Facebook — the world’s top social media site — are viewed without sound. Consumers are seeing approximately 10,000 marketing messages per day, so only the best, most engaging and most relevant content has any chance of grabbing their attention and inciting action. If the video ad isn’t telling a compelling story the consumer will simply keep scrolling.

Next, brands must ensure that their video ads are appearing in the right places. In Asia Pacific, not all consumers are on the same media platforms. WeChat is the top social network in China, Facebook enjoys full penetration amongst Hong Kong’s social media users and YouTube is first in Indonesia. Brands that want to orchestrate a multi-regional campaign must work with a content solutions provider that can offer insights into which channels are the most popular in which regions; and has the scale and partnerships to place content across consumers’ most relevant touchpoints in each market.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, advertisers must remember that the target audience is actually a group of complex individuals. They live multifaceted lives and the media they consume is wide and varied. Multiple conversations, in different environments, across a variety of activities, are needed to build true brand affinity. Brands must speak to consumers not just through video ads, but also across linear channels, through integrations within TV series, sports, entertainment, at on-the-ground events, and more.

Take for example a recent campaign that leveraged Asia’s Next Top Model as a strategic platform for Maybelline. FOX Content Labs created a suite of bespoke content that put the beauty brand at the heart of Asia’s favorite modelling competition — from short-form video production and online amplification, to active and passive product integration within the series itself, to on-the-ground activations in 14 Asia Pacific markets, bringing the campaign from awareness to purchase stage. The digital video series alone had 11.2 million unique views on Facebook and totaled 6.61 million minutes of watch time on YouTube.

When video advertising is done right, it can bring immense value to a campaign. If a picture tells a thousand words, then a video is worth 1.8 million, according to Forrester. With an integrated, holistic strategy, and built-in collaboration with the right content solutions partner, brands can get the most from video ads without putting the brand in jeopardy or contributing to consumers’ ad fatigue.


Michael Rich is EVP of advertising sales and content partnerships at FOX Networks Group Asia.


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