Video advertising: Assume nothing

Steve Chester, Director of Data & Industry Programmes at the IAB UK, runs us through the Video Council’s latest research, Video in demand: insights into video effectiveness

Steve Chester

In the first half of last year, spend on premium video placements reached almost £300m in the UK – and that figure is up £105 million, year on year. 

For this very reason, it’s more important than ever to consider the role that different formats play in the overall video offering. Let’s not spend our budgets blindly driven by false assumptions; let’s think about how pre-roll performs versus in-banner – and what works best on which device and for what purpose.

To help with this, the IAB - on behalf of the IAB’s Video Council - conducted a study with the help of Mediacom, GfK, Sony Mobile and Samsung, to show the impact of format and device when it comes to this increasingly popular medium.

Two campaigns were studied – one for Sony Xperia which aimed to increase awareness and familiarity of its handsets in a crowded marketplace; and the other for Sky Store, which set out to reinforce its unique product proposition and increase favourability. Both ran across desktop, mobile and tablet, using in-banner and pre-roll formats.

The findings were interesting. Sony Xperia saw significant uplifts in terms of its top-of-funnel objectives – with pre-roll, particularly on larger screens, proving to be more effective at raising awareness than in-banner. Yet both formats had roles to play, with in-banner shown to build on familiarity and drive favourability. 

Likewise, Sky Store’s middle-of-funnel objectives were met with the combination of pre-roll and in-banner delivering a significant amplification effect. This ‘one plus one equals three’ phenomenon underscores again how important it is to consider the use of video in a granular fashion, rather than as a whole. 

Particularly encouraging, perhaps, was the fact that video was found to be successful at driving action - on smartphone in particular. With increasingly more traffic on mobile, we ought to be using the fundamental interactivity of online video to help push consumers through the funnel in this way. 

Whilst the campaign results differed more than we had anticipated they might, what we did find in terms of truisms is that - along with the amplification effect of combining ad formats – larger screen sizes are key for driving optimum familiarity in pre-roll; while smaller screens, or mobiles, can be used very effectively for driving action. 

And so, in 2016 as we head into a three quarter of a billion pound video advertising market and we continue to get better at creating videos which grab attention – fast – let’s also ensure we continue to consider the roles of different formats. Let’s further uncover the ‘sweet spots’ of this powerful medium - one which we’d argue is still underinvested in.  

We can’t afford to be assumptive about how video works. Premium does not simply mean pre-roll only. Careful consideration must be given before we reach for our wallets.

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