Emarketer has predicted that digital video advertising will see double-digit growth every year through 2020, led by mobile video. The channel has taken off quickly, and many marketers are woefully unprepared for the boom. It's not surprising, as video advertising is remarkably different from standard display, bringing along its own terminology and its own set of rules for engaging and persuading consumers.
To help marketers prepare for -- and find success in -- the age of mobile video, here are six indispensable tips for digital video campaigns:
Have a plan
As with any marketing or advertising you engage in, you need to be prepared before you hit the ground running. Know your goals and have a roadmap to achieve them. Video can be a high-impact medium for advertising, but you have a have a clear idea of who you want to reach, and what you want them to do once you've engaged them. As part of your plan, you'll also need to determine what your KPIs are and how you're going to measure them.
Choose your ad formats
Digital video offers many formats for many screens. You should select more than one, and consider the user's state of mind when they see your ad as you design your creative. Popular formats right now include:
- Pre-roll: As the name suggests, these video ads run prior to the video content they've elected to watch. The user usually has to watch at least a few seconds of the ad -- if not the whole ad -- before proceeding to their selected content. These ads have completion rates of 78 percent, but keep in mind that these high rates are due to the fact that users cannot skip them. Make sure you keep the content interesting!
- Mid-roll: These ads allow viewers time to get hooked into the video content these before displaying. While the viewer is likely to watch a short-engaging, mid-roll ad so they can get to the end of what they were watching, these do interrupt user experience, but in a way that's similar to TV ads. Completion rates for these ads are even higher than they are for pre-roll -- as high as 94 percent.
- Post-roll: These ads run after the user-selected content has finished, and are the least intrusive to the user. Post-roll completion rates may be below 50 percent, so these may be best used for branding, since viewers are likely to bounce. You'll need to make an impression quickly.
- In-text: Many text publications run video ads adjacent to their content. These user-activated ads are very high impact and offer advertisers a lot of flexibility. They work really well for direct response campaigns.
Build your creative -- several versions of it
You've probably heard this a lot already, but digital video ads are not like TV ads. They need to be shorter, more dynamic, and much more personalized. You should create a version of your creative for each audience you're targeting so that each group sees a relevant message and imaging. Keep it engaging, valuable and entertaining. You have less time than you would in a TV ad (usually about 10 seconds), so make sure you're using that short time wisely.
Remember your call to action (and other best practices)
Like any ad, video advertisements should have a compelling and measurable call to action, whether it's "Buy Now" or "Like Us on Facebook." It seems obvious, but many advertisers forget this. Keep in mind, too, that many users may not make it to the end of your video, so be sure to include your logo and a link to your landing page upfront -- and maybe throughout the length of the video.
Know what to measure and how to measure it
Some metrics to consider as your KPIs are:
- Viewability: It's critically important to know that your ad has been seen by actual humans.
- Completion rate: How many viewers watch your entire video?
- Conversion or engagement metrics: How many users took the action you wanted them to take?
- ROI: Did the ad impact your business's bottom line in a positive way?
Every company and every campaign will have different goals. Make sure you are measuring and analyzing the metrics that align with yours.
Measure, analyze, optimize, repeat
As with any digital campaign, optimization is the key to success. Watch your campaigns carefully, and tweak the audience, budget, creative -- whatever you need to drive success.
And one last bit of advice: partner wisely. There's a lot to learn in the world of digital video advertising, particularly as data-driven programmatic takes over the industry. If it doesn't seem like a practice you can easily bring in-house, seek out experienced partners. There are a lot of great companies in the industry who specialize in video advertising. Find one that has experience in the type of advertising you do (performance versus brand, for example), in your vertical, and most importantly, in the digital channel.
Follow these tips, and keep them handy as a reminder, even as your experience grows.