Rewind 2016: Digital video comes of age

Digital video continued skyrocketing as projected but what was interesting to see was the emergence of a more mature class of advertisers with a strategic outlook towards both content and advertising

e4m by Abhinna Shreshtha
Updated: Dec 28, 2016 8:07 AM
Rewind 2016: Digital video comes of age

Consumption of digital video content and hence spends on online video advertising have skyrocketed in 2016. This was anticipated as global trends point towards a growth in video consumption on digital platforms. However, what is interesting that it is not only just ad spends that are increasing but also the way that marketers and agencies are approaching video content.

“Digital video is going to significantly challenge TV. One reason people kept putting in money in TV was that AV is the best form of storytelling available when compared to all media.  However, with sharp targeting and live video opportunity, digital is now covering all the things that made people go to TV in the first place,” opined Sanjay Mehta, Joint CEO of Mirum India.

The two biggest platforms for videos continue to remain Facebook and YouTube with nearly 70-75 per cent of all video spends, according to some estimates, being accounted for by the two. Programmatic video advertising is still playing catch up and a reason for this, explains Gautamm Mehra, Chief Digital Officer at Dentsu Aegis Network, could be that video being a brand messaging platform, most brands want to target the main platforms for video. However, this does not mean that there is consumption is not increasing on other platforms.

“We are seeing a huge demand for video and live video. If we look at the growth Twitter India is seeing in terms of video consumption, we’ve seen a 400 per cent increase in video consumption on Twitter in India in the last one year and that only continues to grow. Today, most of the brands are adopting video as a product and building engagement. For us live and video are definitely two important focus areas,” Taranjeet Singh, Business Head of Twitter India had told us in an earlier interview.

With 4G becoming more ubiquitous, consumption will increase especially as video inventory also increases.

Overall, there seems to me a move towards using video more strategically as opposed to the cut-copy-paste approach or the tendency towards creating “viral” content that was seen earlier. This has led to a more mature ecosystem with content at the centre and driven by data and brand considerations, said agency heads we spoke with.

 “In terms of content, the maximum impact comes from audio visual but what has changed is that videos are now catering to interesting content formats. We are seeing in increase in creation of segmented and regional content using data sciences. We have seen an increase in 60-70 per cent increase in video content production budget with campaigns now strategic rather than occasion or event specific,” informed Charulata Ravikumar, CEO for SapientNitro & Razorfish India.

Mehra also agrees. “Brands are getting more serious about creatives for digital. If they are not creating digital specific content then they are at least making special edits for the digital platform.”

One trend that was seen, says Piyush Chapperwal, National Sales Head (Online), Vdopia, is that there has been a push towards branded content and creating new shows and series specifically tailored to the digital community. This, according to him, was one of the major trends seen in 2016.

Perhaps due to changing marketer expectations and more pressure towards understanding where the money is going, video advertising is becoming more RoI driven. For example, according to Ravikumar, brands in fashion, retail and, even BFSI to an extent, are keen to move from video engagements to commerce.

This could also be due to questions that were raised towards the second half of the year about the efficacy of not only video ads but digital advertising as a whole. Uncomfortable truths about the growing usage of ad blocking and the need to verify the viewability of ads came to the fore. Just recently, Facebook acknowledged errors in some of its video metrics. The marketer has, out of necessity, had to become smarter and more conscious about where he is putting in his money due to these incidents.

Chapperwal explains this further. “Video has its own unique currency but what has now become number one for the advertiser is ad and content viewability. They want to know that their content has been seen and heard, whether when a consumer makes a decision there is a recall. Brands have this basic expectation from digital videos,” he said.

Though this has not resulted into any significant change in how they are spending money, it has led to a lot more questions being exchanged between the client and the agency. According to Mehra, this is actually a good thing. “Clients and agencies are still grappling with how videos should be measured. We are seeing more and more of these discussions happening. This is good because this means that spends are increasing. No one would have this level of discussion if you were just spending 5 per cent on the platform,” he said.

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