In 2016, spend on mobile video ads more than doubled (up 103%) to £693m making it the fastest growing ad format in the UK. This means it now accounts for a whopping 29% of the total growth in digital ad spend, according to the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) UK and PwC’s annual digital ad spend report.
And with the likes of Facebook and Google building their future around digital video channels, it’s hard to ignore its importance.
However, with the validity of Facebook’s measurement metrics coming under intense scrutiny, many marketers are scratching their heads when it comes to understanding how to successfully measure video effectiveness.
She doesn’t believe this is sophisticated enough and says the fact Facebook and Google partner with Nielsen means the standard ad recall and impact on perception video metrics are too much like above-the-line measures so not fit for purpose.
“The reality is we are still confined to recurring metrics like completion rate,” she says, claiming that measuring based on video completion is becoming irrelevant due to the rise of Instagram and Snapchat.
“It gets a bit more nuanced when you start considering how and why people look at different types of video and also when you factor in some platform objectives such as not letting people leave the environment where they consume the video. Completion rates are meaningless in fragmented storytelling for the kinds Instagram Stories provide”
Butnar adds: “I’d argue that video completion is less relevant for fragmented video environments like Instagram Stories or Snapchat and overall for mobile, which is why Google is switching to simpler six-second ads instead of the traditional skippables.”
The questions marketers should be asking
Realeyes measures the effectiveness of video ads emotionally via access to people’s webcams. Its CEO Mihkel Jaatma believes emotional response will become a more common thing for marketers to measure success on.
“We know behaviour is driven by emotions, so an effective video will be one that creates a strong emotional response,” he says.
“Thus, the best way to measure how effective a video will be is to measure the emotional response to it – because the higher the engagement is, the more likely a viewer will take action. For example, a study we did with Mars across 35 brands established a link between the emotional perception of an ad and its impact on sales with 75% certainty.”
Collecting data like impressions, video views or average completion rates does not in itself prove that customers or prospects have remembered, enjoyed, felt persuaded by or done anything different because of a branded video, according to Andre van Loon, research and insight director at We Are Social.
Instead he argues marketers should be asking questions such as: “Did video views lead to brand or product advocacy? Did they reinforce existing attitudes or behaviours, or create new ones? Did a brand’s videos impact on consumers’ purchase intentions? Did they lead to increased sales?”
It’s not really a question of reach versus targeted; what marketers really need to aim for is targeted reach.
Matt Phelan, 4PS
He says: “I don’t think these questions are taken seriously enough by the industry as a whole. It’s much easier to focus on the awareness metrics anyone can download from Facebook Insights or other platforms, but proving broader effectiveness will take more than that.”
How viewability differs between platforms
When it comes to viewability across different platforms, particularly the likes of YouTube and Facebook, van Loon advises: “For some of the other platforms, viewability can be impacted by having to grab attention in a short amount of time (scrolling past videos on Facebook, for example), but again, I would just point out that if you have interesting content that you manage to communicate through a range of different channels or platforms, this is more likely than not to create the kind of interest that will actively seek you out.”
In particular, he says brand building initiatives implemented over time will create more reasons for consumers to regularly watch videos: “Longer-term brand building efforts, rather than short-term activations, can help to predispose people to your videos and start to tackle some of the viewability issues in ‘busy’ platforms like Facebook.
“On some of our clients, we have seen people are willing to watch the longer content on YouTube versus Facebook, which needs to be shorter and create an impact. Some of the behaviour on platforms, for example scrolling versus watching, are ingrained and different from one another.”
Ultimately, Matt Phelan, CEO of agency 4PS, says achieving digital video advertising success isn’t a question of prioritising mass reach and targeting specifically. He says some marketers are getting so caught up in measuring success that they are forgetting how to achieve it.
He concludes: “It’s not really a question of reach versus targeted; what marketers really need to aim for is targeted reach. There is no point in going after reach just for the sake of hitting the biggest audience. It’s like data; having useful data is much more important than having big data. Big doesn’t always equal better, and this is definitely true in marketing.”