Here’s How To Get The Most From Your Digital Video Ads
Peach’s EMEA partnerships lead Lolly Mason says there’s never been a better time to communicate via digital video ads - so long as marketers get the basics right
23 July 2021
Let’s start with a basic, essential ad industry truth: video is great. Sure, there’s a time and a place for high quality static or print ads - but nothing else engages quite like the fizz of motion and colour that video imparts. That’s especially true on digital and social channels, where audiences are often actively looking to find something to distract them. What better environment for marketers to capture hearts and minds with an eye-catching, quality video ad?
That’s why it’s so frustrating that we’re seeing some recurring issues in the world of digital video ads. Many of the problems stem back to basic issues of quality, whether it be an ad appearing in the wrong aspect ratio, pixelation, or a frustrating amount of time waiting for content to load.
Fortunately, in 2021 there are solutions available for marketers. If advertisers can get the basics right (or better yet, automated), we can ensure that audiences are actually enjoying video ads rather than angrily Googling the most up-to-date ad blocking software.
Quality Is Permanent
It’s worth taking stock of how we got to where we are today. Historically, one of the big appeals of digital advertising was always the unique ability to precisely target and measure digital campaigns. That’s understandably highly enticing for any marketer, and of course it remains one of the biggest advantages to digital advertising today (not to mention the scalability, automation, lower barriers to entry, and so on...).
However, that target and results-driven environment sowed the seeds of a digital marketing culture which prioritised immediate ‘performance’ (clicks, leads, sales) above all else. I’m still feeling slightly traumatised by a conversation I had with the head of strategy from a large media agency some years back. He told me that, essentially, digital was ‘just a performance medium’ and so long as ads drove clicks and sales no one actually gave a stuff about what they looked like.
While that was some time ago, it speaks to the prevailing attitude at that time, which was just as digital and social were accelerating at full throttle. The trouble with that mindset was that it obviously didn’t encourage a particularly lovely user experience and even spawned a few cheeky tactics such as hard-to-close ads, ‘Tetris style’ ad cluttered pages, and intentionally obscured content. This, of course, led to increased ad blocking and user frustration with advertisers and media owners.
Thank goodness we’re now living in more enlightened times! Users - and indeed advertisers - do value quality, and current trends such as Connected TV are really heightening the importance of ensuring your digital comms look and sound highly polished.
The lesson to take from all of this is that it pays to value quality. And that’s especially true in the modern world of digital video advertising.
The Missing Link
Let’s compare for a second the worlds of TV/linear advertising, and digital. You’ll quickly see that digital has some immediate advantages, such as the ability to micro-target, cost effectiveness, and measurable results.
What you will also find, however, is that broadcast advertising has a high level of quality control built into its processes, whereas digital doesn’t. That’s why, when you’re watching broadcast TV, you’ll never find an ad which is in the wrong aspect ratio, never see ugly pixelation on-screen, and the gap between each ad is seamless. Even now, at a time when the industry recognises both the importance of ad UX and digital’s importance to branding, it’s rare to find such a polished user experience on digital - and the results can be as frustrating to users as they are damaging to advertisers.
The missing link, I believe, is the relationship between ad creators and ad destinations. By which I mean that in digital, ad creatives are generally sent out ‘into the wild’ and will eventually find themselves across a huge array of social platforms, apps, players, and so on (often without any real audit trail). And yet each online channel will have its own set of requirements and standards - not to mention its own distinct set of user expectations. Within digital video - and especially CTV / OTT where users are often watching longer form content and therefore have higher expectations of quality - this can be a recipe for chaos, and the result is too often a disjointed experience.
So, as an industry, we need to create that missing link. (This is why, at Peach, we’ve built a platform which can seamlessly integrate with the most popular digital and social platforms, with broadcast style quality control baked into the system).
As TV and online advertising become ever more converged and video budgets continue their shift from linear to online (with CTV in particular leading growth) we have some big choices to make around what we choose to keep - and what we choose to discard - as we combine TV and digital.
It’s time to bring together the best of both worlds - our love of digital precision and automation with the rigorous standards of quality both advertisers and consumers have come to expect and appreciate from broadcast. History has already taught us that it’s imperative to get the quality right.