Revenue generated by online video advertising doubled between 2011 and 2014, and is set to increase by a further 23% this year. That’s according to premier advertising site Warc.com. It reported that global revenues would increase to $13.8 billion this year, and by 2017 would total $19 billion. How is this trend rolling out in South Africa? Glenda Nevill asked the experts.
Brett Morris, Group CEO and Group executive creative director of FCB South Africa, says while online video content is on the rise, and clients have started to buy media online, this is being done with a “traditional mind-set”.
Clients, in most cases, are “taking the same piece of content that was created for TV and placing it in an online environment. In some cases they are expanding a single idea and producing a few pieces of bespoke online content on the back of a television production”.
He says the problem is it is still difficult to get “significant reach with only online exposure”.
“There is definitely a need for a more focused approach to online content and this will grow exponentially as internet access and speeds improve,” Morris says. “Agencies will need to be geared to produce a lot more ‘fast content’ on a much more consistent basis rather than one or two campaigns a year. It won’t be long before we are doing this on a monthly, weekly or even a daily basis.”
Morris says this approach will require an entirely different production model, “which means production houses, agencies and clients need to recalibrate their view of the production process. This needs to be held in balance so that we are still able to produce emotive, compelling content with good production values”.
John Beale, Managing Director of MEC Nota Bene in Cape Town, says TV advertising is based on share of voice, “something that can be measured, tracked and has reams of data through Nielsen and Millward Brown.”
“Video advertising is more of an afterthought, and lumped in with the digital adspend budget. That’s not right, and we’re trying to change that mind-set to thinking about holistic views / eyeballs on the video content pieces.”
Nevertheless, says Beale, online video advertising is showing huge growth in South Africa, notably on social media platforms such as Facebook and YouTube, as well as across networks that allow videos to be streamed to handsets based on their data connectivity, without any loading time. “It’s most notably effective to 18-35, B2C in South Africa at the moment, and I don’t think it’s gender specific,” says Beale.
But he says, the growth is time specific. “We’ve seen long form content do better at night or at lunch time as people have more time to lean in and consume, vs morning being a time for rushing-snackable content. Context in the human psyche for video content must be taken into account,” he says.
Like Morris, Beale says simply replicating TV ads is not the way to go. “Online video content needs to be storyboarded and coded in such a way that those watching are enticed through the right cover frame, are kept interested, and prompted at the right points to engage,” he says. “Disney just purchased the world’s largest video content production house that helps brands produce video content – it’s not about a TV ad online gathering views, it’s about the different layers of that story that people want to watch / see.”
Wag the Dog Publishers, owners of The Media Online and The Media magazine, recently bought a share in online video production company Snippet Video. Snippet’s Rhodes Tanner says online video advertising offers brands, big and small, a “highly targeted, cost effective and measurable platform through which they can engage with both new and existing customers”.
Tanner says with around two billion YouTube videos being watched on mobile devices every day, “video advertising is an obvious choice for brands wanting to reach highly engaged viewers at the most relevant times.”
“Video advertising allows advertisers to see who’s watching their adverts, where they’re watching them and how long they spend watching them,” he says. “There is a misconception that online video needs to be expensive to be good but in actual fact, this is not the case. Online video is all about content and delivering a message which either inspires, educates or entertains. TV budgets and production styles are not necessary to create an effective video content. Remember, most people will be watching on their mobile phones where even SD video looks great.”
Beale agrees targeting is a major appeal of the medium. “Video advertising allows targeting, and viewability measurement beyond what other mediums have. The ability to target audience segments, and track viewing habits through the video content, with often click to purchase at the end, is wonderful,” he says.
PHD’s (Joburg) Wayne Bishop says the medium is an efficiency builder and reach extender. “We must remember that although online video is an attractive option, the experience of consuming a video on a mobile phone vs one on a cinema screen is going to be very different. If an agency has created a very emotional piece of work, we’re unlikely to recommend online video on all formats, as we would want the audience to completely immerse themselves in the experience of the communication. For that TV or cinema might be a better option,” he explains.
Bishop says PHD uses different metrics including CPV, CPC, view rate, number of views etc. “However, we have certainly found that it is much easier to talk in an offline language with our clients. Thus, we are typically measuring in GRPs, reach and frequency and then building campaign reach curves with the data. This is all done through our Source platform (which is proprietary to PHD) and it can conclusively tell our clients what the effect is on a total campaign R&F level.
“For example, we ran a scenario with TV only vs TV plus online video. What the run showed us is that we can hit the reach goal of 66% at 3+ with fewer campaign GRPs when using online video with TV. Procurement people love this example as it essentially helps us save the brand team money (or free up funds to be utilised elsewhere),” he says.
The B2B audience is working well for PHD, he says, “primarily because these audiences are not used to seeing online video as part of a B2B campaign.
“Then, I’d say the traditional audience main grocery buyer (MGB) as they are quite prolific online video consumers. We have also seen excellent CPVs in mass-market campaigns we’ve done (particularly on mobile and within Facebook). I don’t think it specifically relevant to target segments, it’s actually more relevant to brands and categories but knowing how to benchmark the media is key to understanding its relative effect,” says Bishop.
YouTube, of course, is front of mind when it comes to online video advertising but Bishop says in order for a brand to be “truly social” it must be “bigger than the channel in which the community resides”.
He says Facebook and Twitter are “great for seeding content outside of YouTube so we are more likely to recommend that a brand ‘houses’ it’s content on a YouTube channel but then uses other social sites as broadcast media to drive more views to the content.
“I’m also a strong believer in influencer models – not the traditional pay per view” influencer campaign, but the ones that involve real reasons to share. We’ve created a new model called The Gamification of Social that uses algorithms to track and incentivise an influencer base to share and generate content. The model has a simple gamification mechanic and has been hugely effective in the past. It certainly side-steps the ‘contrived’ nature of our current models,” he says.
Beale says some of MEC Nota Bene’s clients have strategies to build their YouTube subscriber bases, while others don’t. “It’s less about getting people to come to you, and more about bubbling out that video content on networks, owned platforms, and other sites for users to watch that is an effective way to garner more subscribers. In SA though, subscribers are hard to come by, most channels see fewer than 1000 subscribers, where in the US and UK it’s normal to subscribe and consume video content through feeds from your subscriptions.”
The nature of the content itself is key, says Bishop. “Advertisers can get much better conversion, view-through rates etc if they optimise the content for the space in which it is appearing,” he explains. “For example, online video ads do much better when they are shorter (20 secs or less), punchier (to the point), do not rely on sound and often have shorter, sharper cuts (especially for mobile). This could be a whole new article on its own!”
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