As we enter another year, here are five predictions for the direction video will take and how it will shape the ad-tech landscape:
1. 2014 will be the year of mobile.
Year after year, predictions about “the year of mobile” appear, but 2014 will be the year that mobile video ads truly start to take shape. Apple’s late-2012 introduction of its mobile ad tracking technology, ID for Advertisers (IFA), followed months later by the company’s rejection of apps using unique device identifier (UDID) technology, are major industry shifts that are settling privacy concerns. Additionally, the innate form factor of mobile complements video; mobile video ads are a fully immersive ad experience compared to the diminished experience you get with repurposed banners. On a smaller screen, video ads are front, center and more prominent.
Additionally, consumer behavior on mobile differs from the way viewers consume on a PC, as the majority of mobile clips watched on mobile devices averages one minute in length. As a result, mobile video ads are due to evolve – repurposed 30-second spots from TV simply do not work in the palms of consumers’ hands. Expect 15-, 10-, and even five-second video ads to appear this year, and they’ll start to become the mobile ad norm. Now that the technology has finally caught up with the popularity and proliferation of mobile devices, businesses will find significant return on investment (ROI) from mobile marketing this year and expect to see a surge in mobile video ads.
2. More industries will get personal with ads.
The last couple of years have seen online retailers delivering personalized video ads that leverage consumers’ online activity, history and behavior to enable better targeting and drive conversions, revenue and brand awareness. Other industries – such as wireless carriers, cable operators and even insurance providers – will begin implementing such technology to support their customer acquisition efforts, too. Personalized video advertising drives conversions (namely product purchases) in the e-commerce space, so it is only natural that other online transactions, such as purchasing services, plans and policies, will drive create impact in acquiring customers.
Additionally, we will begin to see the convergence of personalized video on mobile devices. Smartphones and tablets are more personal tools, and this essentially combines two great devices, mobile and video, to make an even more powerful advertising vehicle.
3. Facebook ads will need to get personal, too.
Facebook closed 2013 by announcing a new ad format of autoplaying video ads in users’ news feeds, setting the scene for Facebook to disrupt the space and provide an alternative to YouTube’s dominance in video. In an effort to keep both consumers and advertisers happy, the ad delivery is designed to minimize disturbance to the user’s experience. Yet, Facebook will inevitably have to leverage user account and social data to personalize video content for a better, more relevant viewer experience that will perform well for marketers.
Additionally, Facebook is one of the few companies — if not the only company — that can help bridge the gap between different identities of a single user across multiple devices and apps. By tracking consumer behavior across devices with Facebook Connect, the social giant holds a huge pile of data for smarter advertising.
4. Measurement across channels will improve.
In the last couple years, a shift in how marketers tracked ROI has emerged. Attribution models are influenced and changed as consumer shopping habits adapt, from in-store to online and from showrooming to webrooming. As such, performance measurement will continue to improve, especially as advertisers demand measurement of online video advertising efforts to drive offline impact. Likewise, as cross-device usage continues to grow, cross-device user identification and tracking is sure to take shape, which will allow for better targeting and more personalized creative and content.
Advertisers are realizing their budgets need to be accountable, and sophisticated attribution models are being deployed to reveal the true value of each ad impression. From soft directional metrics, marketers are shifting their attention to measurable ROI and advanced analysis to back it up.
5. Lines will blur between marketing and ad tech.
We’ve already reached a point where it’s no longer clear whether you are watching content or an ad. Was Jean-Claude Van Damme’s “Epic Split” for Volvo an ad? Is Amazon’s drone-driven Prime Air video truly news, or a well-plotted ad in advance of Cyber Monday? As content consumption continues to transcend the living room walls, advertisers will continue to experiment with the right mix of content and advertising.
Additionally, the industry used to have a clear separation between marketing and ad tech, but we are starting to see the convergence of the two. The same CRM data that is used to power your email marketing is now being leveraged to better target and personalize your ads. Marketers are looking for a holistic approach to manage all their touch points with their target audiences via all the available channels at their disposal.
The ad-tech landscape is approaching a pivotal point, and online video is positioned right at the center to deliver value for advertisers, while engaging consumers with what they want.