Video Essentials

5 Steps for Creative Video Ad Innovation: Discover What Works

What works in online video advertising? That book is still being written. As viewers shift from pay TV to over-the-top, as they spend more time streaming shows and flipping through newsfeeds, advertisers are struggling to understand how to reach them. The goal isn’t just to show ads, but to create deeper relationships with viewers. As a result, the industry is seeing a huge amount of experimentation in online video ads, and that’s something the Interactive Ad Bureau explores in a white paper released today. Called “Building 21st Century Brands: Video Creative Innovation,” the paper looks at which formats advertisers are trying, and offers 5 steps to grow creative video ad experimentation.

5 steps

The video ad formats publishers are experimenting with the most

Surveying 175 publishers, agencies, brands, and ad tech vendors in December 2017 and January 2018, the IAB learned which formats are seeing the most interest. The top three formats for publishers are six-second video ads, interactive video ads, and skippable video ads. For brands and agencies, the top three are the same but in a different order: skippable video ads, six-second video ads, and interactive video ads.

But publishers, brands, and agencies aren’t just trying one format and sticking with it. Rather, 88 percent of publishers, 77 percent of brands and agencies, and 76 percent of ad tech vendors are actively innovating with video ads.

“By leveraging new interactive capabilities in video, buyers and sellers are able to gain insights into what’s working on a particular device or platform, whether it’s through metrics like interaction rate or percent of times a video was viewed, or in the case of shoppable video, driving an actual purchase directly through the ad,” explains Eric John, deputy director of the IAB Center for Video Excellence. “Ultimately, by pushing the creative envelope, brands are looking to spark a connection with consumers using the power of sight, sound, and motion to support their objectives, whether it’s brand awareness or direct response.”

To guide others through this experimentation process—wherever it leads—the IAB created an innovation roadmap: 5 steps that are important in developing innovative new video ad practices:

1. Always Be Testing
Rather than trying a new format here and there and hoping for success, be disciplined about constantly testing format improvements. Keep tests quick and test ideas constantly.

2. Watch the Numbers
It’s also important to constantly improve the data and analytics that drive ad impressions. Look at which consumers are being targeted and how responses vary by screen and device.

3. Create New Standards
New and non-traditional ads don’t have standard key performance indicators (KPIs) yet, so it’s important to develop them. Buyers and agencies need to work together to determine goals and optimize results.

4. Advocate for Neutral Third-Party Support
Brands and agencies need neutral third-parties to support these innovation efforts, perhaps by creating a curated ad gallery of new formats that produce consistent and scalable results. Share insights rather than locking them away.

5. Stay Organized
Success won’t happen by accident, but by taking a structured approach and having the resources to drive change. Speed up innovation, break down organizational silos, and invest in talent.

For more on testing and adopting innovative video ad formats, as well as 5 steps for success, download “Building 21st Century Brands: Video Creative Innovation” (authored by IAB publisher-in-residence John Frelinghuysen) for free (no registration required).


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