What you need to know about the state of online video display advertising

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With online video display advertising poised for significant growth in the next five years, two factors are top of mind: quantity and quality.

Online video, in some ways similar to television with its ability to “tell stories” that are particularly strong at creating brand awareness, is a medium unlike any other, especially for advertisers. According to Michael Lee, Managing Director of the International Advertising Association (IAA), “Online videos offer advertisers a unique opportunity to promote their brand to a targeted audience with engaging content, which can be easily shared with others via email and social media.”

In a recent guest post on the Forrester blog, researcher Samantha Merlivat references the most recent US Online Display Advertising Forecast Report when stating that “video advertising will represent nearly 55% of online display advertising revenue on desktop by 2019….Marketers’ preference for video and rich media reflects their new ambitions for online display: They are moving beyond the notion of display as a direct response tool, and starting to explore display as an engagement and branding tool.”

Along with this anticipated growth comes caution over possible issues with video ad fraud. A recent Wall Street Journal blogpost by Jay Sears, “Online Video Advertising Has Growing Pains” points to possible trouble areas. Sears writes: “…there’s an abundance of what would appear to be suspicious inventory in segments of the video market outside of the directly sold premium inventory offered by well-known publishers,” and goes on to name several types of what he calls “suspicious digital video inventory common to the market today.” These include non-human traffic, and “human-farming” enabled clicks in which people are paid to watch or click on videos for hours and hours on end.

These concerns are large enough to have resulted in a new across ad-industry anti-fraud program, just announced by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) which named Linda Woolley as the head of what’s now being referred to as “TAG,” an acronym for Trustworthy Accountability Group. According to an IAB press release, “TAG” is described as a “joint marketing-media industry program to eradicate digital advertising fraud, malware, ad-supported piracy, and other deficiencies in the digital communications supply chain.”

Stephen D. Rappaport of Stephen Rappaport LLC points out that it’s not only the measurement accuracy standards for online content that will be important to consider, but also the types of metrics measured. Different options exist such as clicks, views, shares, time spent, as well as other types of engagement.

Concerns aside, interest in video shows no signs of slowing. According to Sheryl Goldstein, a member of the Board of Directors for the Advertising Women of New York (AWNY), video spend is on the rise for several reasons. “Marketers place dollars where the audience is going. Online/streaming video consumption is on the rise so the ad dollars will follow,” says Goldstein. In addition, Goldstein points out several other factors, including that “TV buys are getting more challenging….TV buyers are turning to digital buys to supplement their TV buys.”

The interactive nature of online video is also attractive. According to Chick Foxgrover, Chief Digital Officer of the 4As, “…there are some very interesting possibilities in interactive video advertising, storytelling that folks may be looking forward to…. that are very engaging and more native to the medium.”

At the end of the day, those who consume and interact with online video, and online video display ads, will decide to watch or engage or not based on quality. Is there a “secret sauce” to what makes a video ad work well? According to Doug Zanger, Director of Social for Advertising Week, “it feels limiting to generalize what ‘works’ and what doesn’t…it really all comes down to the quality of the video display ad, for B2B or any sort of communication.”

 Flickr photo via user IntelFreePress

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Stephanie Grayson

Stephanie Grayson

Stephanie Grayson (aka @Critiques4Geeks on Twitter) is an experienced corporate communications leader and social media enthusiast based in New York. Stephanie was the Social Media Editor of Yahoo! Finance (Oct. 2012- Dec. 2013) in New York.
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