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Uncover video's untapped potential

Uncover video's untapped potential James Malins

According to web psychologist Liraz Margalit, videos are processed by the human brain 60,000 times faster than text.

In a brand advertising setting, this data point can infer that video's combination of sight, sound, and motion, when applied intelligently, can create new opportunities for how audiences engage and interact with video-supported digital ad content. Whether the goal is awareness, direct response or conversions, higher engagement rates, generally speaking, translate to more effective digital ad campaigns.

With U.S. digital video ad spend expected to see double-digit growth annually through 2020,  marketers are clearly opening up their wallets for the channel. That doesn't mean that the video advertising value exchange is simple: marketers are operating in an era where audiences expect ads to be relevant and engaging without being overly intrusive on their browsing or shopping experience.

Most digital video advertising also remains expensive relative to other digital channels despite historically lagging in its personalization capabilities. According to eMarketer, better targeting and personalization of video ads is one of the major growth drivers for digital video advertising in 2016. The ability to customize marketing messages around what matters most to a particular consumer in a particular moment empowers brands and marketers to create an engaging opportunity that the consumer feels is relevant to them and their mindset.

With personalization in mind, what other video formats should marketers begin exploring? How can marketers capitalize on that short window, now down to eight seconds, of undivided audience attention? One answer might lie within the interactive video format.

By and large, interactive video ad formats are designed to be containers for content that inspires engagement. One of the toughest challenges in video advertising is the investment associated with creating assets. With interactive video ads, assets that have already been created are simply enhanced and made better.

Interactive ad units allow brands and marketers to mix and match functionalities to create the most engaging and powerful ad experience for audiences.

Take dynamic video optimization, for example. In an automotive ad, male drivers who are looking to "rule the road" want to see an adrenaline racing, sporty ad that touts horsepower and style. Females, moms, who are looking to buy that same vehicle likely want to see more depictions of MPG or safety ratings. By adding a personalized interactive overlay to existing video assets, the call to action can be unique and resonate with the intended audience.

Particularly around the holidays, shoppable ads can be ideal for augmenting retail campaigns. Users can swipe or toggle through products, view them in different scenarios, and eventually move them into a cart -- all within the video ad unit. This functionality creates a value exchange between brand and audience through engagement while also expanding brand awareness. It allows products to come to life for consumers by enhancing the buying experience in an immersive and relevant digital environment.

Retailers might also leverage 360-degree video, which allows the user to control where the ad takes them based on movements and tilting of their smartphone. This functionality puts consumers in the driver's seat of navigating content in ways that feel most natural.

Last year, Target took interactive video and 360 degree video a "spookier" direction with their Halloween campaign. The retailer invited viewers to choose their own adventure, deciding which ads they saw based on personal preferences. Although this version of interactive video only worked on desktop browsers at the time, Target was able to act on consumer mindset to deliver relevant ads in real time based on real time interests, and more importantly, zero in on what they're looking to buy. The success of the campaign was widely seen, with more than 82,000 desktop views during its debut, and an additional 24,000 on Facebook.

For brands that are looking to make a greater impact with a customized, personal approach, interactive video is a strong option. Marketers have the opportunity to capitalize even further on the large investment that video advertising demands, and supercharge assets to reach consumers and influence purchasing behavior. The ability to measure time spent, number of interactions, and what areas of the ad most appealed to the consumer provides more opportunities to leverage and gain insights about an audience that can be used to go beyond just delivering campaigns to the right audience at the right time, but help lead guide a consumer's path to purchase. Marketers can leverage their existing and new video assets in an innovative way that will inspire action and keep products top of mind as people get ready to fill their carts both online and in stores.

James Malins is a seasoned digital marketing executive with over a decade of experience in marketing technology.   As VP of Cross Channel Solutions at Amobee, James oversees delivery and media strategy for the company’s global cross...

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