3 things you need to know about online video advertising

Video ads on the Internet are now the norm, coming in a variety of formats, but there are some pitfalls to avoid, which marketers need to be aware of. Here we list the three most common ones…

e4m by Gopal Sathe
Published: Apr 25, 2011 8:31 AM  | 5 min read
3 things you need to know about online video advertising

The growing reach of broadband and optimisation in video delivery has led to a huge uptake in consumption of video content in India, with a study by comScore released in March showing that 7 out of 10 Indian Internet users watch online video.

In this scenario, the adoption of video advertising online makes a lot of sense, and if done right, offers a lot of advantages for brands as well. However, putting an ad online isn’t as simple as taking your television commercial and putting it on banners – the number one mistake brands make when thinking about online video, according to many experts.

Going online offers a lot of advantages that are fairly unique to the digital medium, but a lack of awareness and forethought can ruin the best ideas. There are a few simple things that marketers need to keep in mind.

TVCs are for TV
This seems too basic an idea to deserve mention, yet most experts say that this mindset is one that still needs to be instilled in many brands.

Debadutta Upadhyaya, Vice President–India, Vdopia, remarked, “In many a case, the creative agency doesn’t (feel the) need to change much about its television commercials to make it into, say, an online pre-roll video commercial. Television commercial and online videos, however similar they might be, are certainly not identical. The web being a different medium, we should choose to take a different approach than what we take for television. Lots of things that we see happening right now are in the long form content format and that needs to change to a customised short content format.”

She added, “Long form content might be seen as a needless distraction by determined and informed web surfers who know what they want to do online and how. Many videos currently have content that a user needs to actually dive deep to discover.”

According to Sandeep Singh, Business Head, Quasar, “The first mistake which most brands do is to run their TVC as is on the online medium. While I don’t recommend creating special videos for the medium, but the opportunity now is big enough to make special edits of your TVCs, which could mean interesting smaller edits that end in strong call to action as the online medium can add interactivity to the video.”

Right message, right time
Okay, so now you’ve figured out how to talk to the customer. But are you delivering your ads at the right places, to the right people, and at the right time? The Internet is rich in data, which allows behavioural targeting, contextual ads and personalised content, unlike traditional media, and if your brand does not make use of this, your message gets lost.

Rajesh Sule, National Sales Director, Tribal Fusion, explained, “TV audiences are fragmented, and for the younger audience particularly, they spend more time and are more engaged online, making it ideal to deliver video to them. Unlike TV, where I don’t know who is watching; online, we have a set of publishers who are partners to us. Because we harness the footprint of the people who come to our publisher set, we understand who the audience is, allowing us to create lifestyle buckets. This helps us target the audience in a much better way. Targeting influences conversion, by allowing us to present more relevant advertising.”

Singh also pointed out the importance of using the right format of ad at the right time. He said, “There should be different edits and call to actions for Pre-Rolls, Mid Rolls, Post Rolls, Video Banners, YouTube videos, etc. A shorter version of TVC may run fine as a pre-roll, but not as a video banner. It may be recommended to place the video ad in a frame, which has the logo and call to action throughout the video.”

Upadhyaya also agreed, and said, “Content needs to come upfront onto the viewer’s space, and needs to include a call to action. For example, short form content like a clickable, 10-second pre-roll video ad run in conjunction with a rich media ad, inviting the viewer to click through to the advertiser’s site, could prove really good for branding.”

Online equals interaction
The Internet is a lean forward medium, unlike television, which is lean back consumption. Here, the users are actively engaged, and are actively choosing to access your content. So why would it make sense for a brand to make a video ad which involves no interaction? Yet often, this is what happens.

Sule said, “Say I’m addressing someone for a car brand. In my video, I should show the commercial to create interest, and then provide options to engage the customer further. For example, the short video could end with a 3D model of the car that the user can rotate, or change accessories and color to generate interest.” He added, “Not only does this make the user engaged, but he opts in to consume the brand communication, making it much more likely to have a positive impact.”

Quasar’s Singh agreed to this point and said, “Many marketers do not utilise the potential of online medium as a sharing platform. Sharing across social platforms should be made as easy as possible, wherever allowed for your video advertising. This should be one of the hygiene factors not to be missed by any advertiser.”

The people who click are the ones most likely to be influenced by the ad, whichever medium it’s shown on; the interactivity adds value, and the possibility of building a relationship through engagement.

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