Marketers can use video advertising to deliver compelling, creative campaigns to highly engaged and receptive audiences at all stages of the conversion pathway, argues Dave Reed, managing director EMEA, at MediaMath.

Video advertising is a multi-sensory storytelling experience that immerses and engages audiences. As a result, UK online video advertising spend grew almost 60% year-on-year in the first half of 2014 and mobile video advertising rose by an exceptional 196% to become the fastest growing digital ad format.

These figures are unsurprising considering online video is reaching more consumers than ever before, with content available to download or live stream using a multitude of devices including desktops, smartphones, tablets, and connected TVs.

Average weekly viewing for UK consumers equates to 25 video clips, four to five TV episodes, and a film, which provides ample opportunities for exposure to video advertising. Online video ads perform better than TV ads across all metrics including general recall, brand recall, message recall, and ad likeability.

Video ads also enjoy a relatively high completion rate of 87%, which can be attributed to the immersive, emotive viewing experience of the channel and the deeper levels of viewer engagement it delivers compared to other ad formats.

So how can marketers take full advantage of video advertising and integrate it into their cross-channel advertising strategies to deliver optimal results?

Target specific audience segments
Online video offers advertisers the power to target specific audience segments. Used together with audience profiling and geotargeting, marketers can target users with personalised video ads based on their online behaviour and location. This increased relevancy for audiences naturally encourages engagement and affinity with brands, which can boost ROI.

Leverage engaged viewers
Consumers choose the video content they want to watch, so are more intensely engaged and involved compared to linear TV. These higher levels of engagement increase both brand and message recall, and with thought-provoking and creative content – such as native advertising – brands can take advantage of increased attention levels and reach audiences on a deeper level.

Use throughout the conversion pathway
Video is an engaging medium, often used in conjunction with display or social ads to help raise brand awareness and generate an impact on conversion rates. However, video is also an excellent prospecting tool that can be integrated into a wider marketing campaign to increase brand awareness and replenish the remarketing pool. Advanced attribution solutions now allow the impact of an ad to be measured at any stage along the path to conversion, so video can be used at every level of the sales funnel. Recent findings indicate that prospecting with video as the primary means of engaging with a consumer lead to better conversion rates than with any other channel.

Use a multichannel approach
Video advertising allows brands to tell a story and engage consumers emotionally, which delivers a positive impact on brand awareness. But the consumer path to purchase is not linear and video advertising is just one touchpoint on this path. For maximum returns video should be planned and executed in conjunction with a wider campaign that includes display, social, and mobile, as well as offline channels.
Be adventurous with video

Online video viewers are often seeking an alternative experience and this gives marketers the opportunity to explore more adventurous ad formats. Marketers should move away from professionally produced traditional TV ads and towards user generated content, behind the scenes style footage, and interactive features. Online video ads should capture the imagination and emotions of viewers because when consumers care, they share what they have seen.

Optimise video campaigns
Launching a video campaign is only the start of the story. Technology is now available to measure the success of a video advertising against specific business goals – including direct response – and optimise it in real time to ensure those goals are met. Frequency, targeting, and even creative can be altered once the video is launched to achieve the desired results.

Implement frequency caps
If used too frequently, video can fall victim to oversaturation, which may lead to viewer indifference and even negativity. Marketers should apply cross-channel frequency caps to reduce this risk, and combine ad formats and messages to keep the campaign fresh. Another consideration is sequential video ads that move the viewer along the conversion path and further into the brand story.

The popularity of online video and the positive impact it has on advertising metrics has resulted in a surge of investment in this valuable channel. By considering targeting, optimisation, and frequency – as well as embracing new ad formats – marketers can use video advertising to deliver compelling, creative campaigns to highly engaged and receptive audiences at all stages of the conversion pathway.

Dave Reed, managing director EMEA, MediaMath

Read the article on M&M Global