Oct 27 2020
Basis Technologies

The Future of Video Advertising


For as many digital years as I can remember, we’ve been discussing the “future” of video advertising. Most of that conversation revolves around two topics:

  1. Taking a more digitally-native approach to video
  2. The migration from broadcast to streaming channels

To be sure, these are both critical considerations for a modern media strategy. Broadcast is a stubborn (and reliable) dinosaur, but digital channels have been capturing more eyeballs and ad dollars for years now. If you aren’t producing mobile-optimized and short-form video, and you haven’t expanded your media mix to include OTT, or perhaps even live streaming, you’re being left behind.

So, get to it! You’re not alone—we have a great team of strategists to help.

On the other hand, if you’re one of those forward-thinking advertisers who’s already mastered the sponsored Instagram story and streaming video, you’re likely wondering what else you can do to guide your digital video strategy into 2021 and beyond.

Here are two modest predictions for the future of video.

1. The pendulum swings back to contextual, increasing video relevance 

The days of the third-party browser cookie are numbered. We’ve known this for some time, but with Google announcing a 2022 cookie sunset date for Chrome and its 66% browser market share, contingency planning is in full effect across the industry.

The death of the cookie, combined with looming privacy regulation, opens the door for an old friend—contextual targeting. This may seem like a throwback to Centro’s early days of local news ad buying, but we’re not just talking about sports-section takeovers anymore. Contextual 2.0 offers a host of machine learning solutions for discerning page sentiment—these solutions recognize images and dynamically insert creative alongside appropriate subject matter.

With the adoption of improved alignment technology, a contextual-first strategy could be a cost saver and performance driver, not just Plan B. Past studies have already suggested that contextually relevant advertising can improve ROI by 30%, compared to cookie-based targeting.

Plus, one of the most compelling use-cases for advanced contextual targeting is video!

Brands invest heavily in crafting video to evoke a specific emotional response among an audience in a specific mindset. Poor video placement (below-the-fold, in-banner video, anyone?) can undermine this desired effect, and at high CPM’s, waste your ad spend entirely.

Precise contextual alignment, with user-friendly ad formats, presents an opportunity for video ads to be more topical, viewable, and delivered to a receptive audience—all benefits that make this strategy arguably more valuable than user targeting.

Next steps:

  • Learn more about leading contextual providers, including The Washington Post, Peer39, and GumGum
  • Run a behavioral targeting vs. contextual targeting video performance test
  • Consult with your digital agency about a cookie-less targeting strategy

2. The convergence of social media and e-commerce leads to the rise of shopper video

As traditional retailers struggle just to survive 2020, the shift to e-commerce has accelerated dramatically. Social platforms are seizing on the opportunity.

If you’ve spent time on Facebook or Instagram recently, you’ve probably noticed how easy it is to make an impulse purchase through well optimized shopper ads (guilty!). And, to simplify the process even more, Facebook introduced Shops in May, allowing brands to sell products directly through its platforms.

And then there’s the Gen Z favorite, TikTok. TikTok’s growth has been explosive, with an addictive interface that drives massive numbers of views. To understand its long-term potential, take a look at how its parent company is approaching e-commerce, and how e-commerce and social video companies are collaborating in China.

TikTok and Shopify just announced a partnership that cements e-commerce as the real game plan. Not only will purchases from Shopify merchants be easier through TikTok, businesses will have access to TikTok’s ad platform directly through Shopify–something in-house marketing teams should be aware of. With its video-first, early adopters from Gen Z (a population that controls a growing $140 billion of spending power), TikTok is in a position to fundamentally change how people shop.

So with social media giants transforming into digital malls (and potentially making a run at Amazon), what does this mean for advertisers?

First, marketers can now use video to speak directly to consumers at the digital point of sale. With an audience that’s literally one click from conversion, brands should be developing a new class of video assets tailored to the actively engaged shopper.

To move the needle from impulse to purchase, consider an immersive, educational approach, including AR/VR and other interactive tools, as well as authentic testimonials or product demos.

Second, the shopification of social media increases the value of influencer- and fan-generated content exponentially. If Douyin (TikTok’s Chinese counterpart) is any indication, in-video search is on the horizon and will allow users to purchase products simply by tapping them in a video.

With every view representing an organic shopping opportunity, imagine the impact of your product appearing in tomorrow’s viral sensation. If content and influencer marketing haven’t been a priority in the past, now may be a good time to determine if they’re a fit for your brand.

Next Steps:

  • Ensure that your creative team is native to the latest social platforms (with an emphasis on TikTok) as well as well-versed with interactive video
  • Consider paid product placement, fan engagement, and user-generated content as part of your social video strategy
  • Schedule quarterly product learning sessions to stay up to date on new social e-commerce features and brand “store” requirements

Learn more about video advertising with Centro.